May 25, 2018

Yours for a pound

DIY chain Homebase has been sold for just £1, after its Australian owner Wesfarmers decided to abandon its disastrous foray into the UK. Wesfarmers paid £340m for the retailer two years ago, but losses and other costs will bring its total bill to about £1bn. The chain is being bought by restructuring specialist Hilco, which rescued music chain HMV in 2013. The £1 price tag reflects the company's negligible value, but Homebase is far from being the first firm to be sold for £1 by an owner wanting to ditch a loss-making business. In 2015, Sir Philip Green sold the BHS department store chain for £1 to an investment vehicle called Retail Acquisitions run by Dominic Chappell. The decision proved to be ill-fated for Sir Philip: last year the Pensions Regulator said he sold BHS to avoid responsibility for its insolvent pension schemes if the firm went bust. After Swansea City FC was relegated to the third division in 2001, the Welsh football club's owners sold it for the princely sum of £1.

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