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Real Estate Mogul Wants to Revive BHS

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BHS

When BHS entered administration on Monday, the future appeared murky for the retailer’s 164 stores and 11,000 employees. Now, a real estate tycoon has expressed interest in saving more than 120 of those locations.

Yousuf Bhailok, a former general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain who owns a number of landmark buildings, registered the entity, BHS Revive, the same day the retailer entered the United Kingdom’s version of bankruptcy protection. According to The Times, he plans to submit his proposal, which includes rescuing at least three-fourths of the fleet, to administrator Duff & Phelps.

To further cement his intent, Bhailok also wrote business secretary Sajid Javid seeking government support to help secure backing from banks.

He’s not the only one with a plan, however. Duff & Phelps have reportedly received roughly 50 expressions of interest for all or some part of the 88-year-old retailer, formerly known as British Home Stores.

BHS, which opened its first store in 1928, lost 85 million pounds ($122.5 million) in the year ended Aug. 30, 2014. It recently failed to secure 60 million pounds ($86.8 million) in emergency funding that it needed to pay wages and rent and subsequently fell into administration.

Labor MP John Mann has since called for Sir Philip Green, chairman of Arcadia Group, to be stripped of his knighthood for the part he played in the retailer’s collapse. Green had owned BHS for nearly 15 years when he sold it for one pound (less than $2) to Retail Acquisitions Ltd. in March 2015, a group of investors led by former racing driver Dominic Chappell. Both men are now under pressure to explain how business became so bad and how it built up a pension scheme deficit of 571 million pounds ($833 million).

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