Ex-Jaeger owner prepares for court battle
Harold Tillman is preparing to sue Lloyds Bank and private equity fund Better Capital over their role in the 2012 collapse of fashion brands Jaeger and Aquascutum.
The news comes six years after he lost the businesses in a rapid succession of events. Tillman, a leading figure in the UK retail industry and former British Fashion Council chairman, claims the bank sold the debt in Jaeger to Better Capital while he was on holiday and without warning, without offering him a chance to finance the debt himself.
Lloyds sold Jaeger’s £16 million debt in the spring of 2012. The move gave control of the brand to the private equity firm headed by financier Jon Moulton, and Jaeger was swiftly put into administration.
Subsequently, Jaeger’s new owners called in debts owed by Aquascutum, which was also owned by Tillman, prompting the luxury brand to fall into administration and the sale of its assets.
Lloyds and Better Capital have denied the claims, with Jon Moulton telling The Times: “We bought the debt from Lloyds Bank, then had to put money in the company as it was bankrupt. It was a normal transaction.”
Jaeger and Aquascutum have been restructured since then, and continue to trade under new owners. Aquascutum is now owned by Shandong Ruyi Group, which also owns French firm SMCP, which operates Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot.
Jaeger was acquired by Edinburgh Woollen Mill from Better Capital in May last year as it struggled to turn around its fortunes.
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