Coronavirus: Moss Bros suitor abandons bid to scrap £22m takeover

May 25, 2020

The company behind a £22m takeover of Moss Bros, the men's suits retailer, has abandoned an attempt to scrap the deal amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sky News has learnt that Brigadier Acquisition, a vehicle set up by the owner of Crew Clothing, has decided to complete the deal just three days after vowing to appeal against the City mergers watchdog's verdict that it should do so.

The decision makes completion of the transaction a formality, and is expected to be confirmed by the Takeover Panel in a statement on Tuesday.

It will draw a line under one of the most contentious deals to be announced since the COVID-19 crisis erupted.

The 22p-a-share takeover was announced on March 12, shortly before the UK lockdown began but after it had become clear that COVID-19 was likely to wreak havoc across swathes of the UK economy.

Coronavirus-related uncertainty was cited by Moss Bros' board as one of the reasons for accepting Brigadier's offer.

The pandemic has caused chaos across the high street, with Debenhams, Oasis and Warehouse Group, and Cath Kidston among the chains which have been forced to call in administrators.

Others, including French Connection, have warned that they are fast-running out of cash.

The acquirer, Menoshi 'Michael' Shina, subsequently said it wanted to walk away, sparking a battle with the menswear chain that was resolved in Moss Bros' favour last week by the Takeover Panel.

One insider said Brigadier had elected to ditch the appeal it had indicated it would pursue because the potential benefit would be outweighed by the time and cost of doing so.

They added that Brigadier intended to retain Moss Bros' management team, which is led by Colin Porter, chief executive.

Brigadier and Moss Bros declined to comment on Monday.

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