Business: Boohoo Billionaire Mahmud Kamani Buys Debenhams for £55m

Online fast-fashion retailer Boohoo, has bought the Debenhams brand and website for £55m.

Boohoo’s online only acquisition means the Debenhams department stores will not be salvaged and up to 12,000 of its staff will be without jobs.

The 242-year-old Debenhams chain is already in the process of closing down, after administrators failed to secure a rescue deal for the business.

Boohoo, which is also buying the brands Maine, Mantaray, Principles and Faith, said Debenhams’ remaining stores will be wound down after the high street lockdown ends and they can reopen to sell off stock.

Boohoo said it was a “transformational deal” and a “huge step”, adding that the group will only be acquiring the “brands and associated intellectual property rights.”

“The transaction does not include Debenhams’ retail stores, stock or any financial services.”

Boohoo said the Debenhams website receives 300m visits a year, making it a top 10 retail website in the UK by traffic.Boohoo is the UK’s fast-growing fast-fashion retailer that was set up in 2006 by Mahmud Kamani and his business partner Carol Kane and is now valued at more than $4.3 billion.

Kamani, who is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country and has worked his way up the UK’s rich list to be worth just over $1 billion, started his career by selling cheap clothes to market stallholders and high-street brands in the UK (including H&M and Primark).

In a separate development, Asos says it is in “exclusive” talks to buy the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands out of administration.

But the online retailer said it only wanted the brands, not their shops, suggesting any deal would cost jobs.

The current owner of the brands, Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, fell into administration last November putting 13,000 jobs at risk.

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