Iceland looking to offload debt

Icelandic investment group Baugur has attracted interest from a number of private equity firms looking to buy its debt valued at £1bn.

The list of potential private equity bidders includes Permira, TPG, Blackstone and Alchemy, as well as retail billionaire and owner of Topshop Sir Philip Green. The Icelandic government was said to be in talks with Green as it attempts to offload the debt pile.

Baugur has a number of high profile retail interests in the UK including House of Fraser, Oasis and Hamleys. Both Hamleys, which is 65% owned by Baugur and House of Fraser, 35% owned, have been quick to point out that they are only part-owned by the Icelandic retail company and are not subsidiaries of the company. Baugur owes the debt to Iceland’s collapsed banks, which were acquired by the island’s government. Baugur’s UK business employs 55,000 people.