Ted Baker puts London headquarters on sale to shore up cash

By guest author Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazettte

  • Ted Baker mulls selling off its Ugly Brown Building HQ in London
  • Embattled fashion retailer reportedly in talks to offload it to British Airways’ pension scheme
  • Sale expected to raise tens of millions of pounds for the fashion retailer, which has been rocked by an accounting crisis.

Ted Baker is reportedly in talks to offload its London headquarters to British Airways’ pension scheme in a bid to raise cash after being rocked with an accounting crisis.

According to Sky News, the embattled fashion retailer is close to striking a deal with BA’s pension scheme to sell a big stake in its Ugly Brown Building in North London.

Ted Baker owns its headquarters outright and a nearby building is already owned by the BA pension scheme, Sky News added.

If successful, the sale is expected to raise tens of millions of pounds for Ted Baker to help shore up its balance sheet.

Shares in the retailer have declined since it emerged in January that Ted Baker had overstated its stock by GBP 58 million – much higher than the initial estimate of GBP 25 million as first revealed just weeks before Christmas.

The accounting blunder followed a tough year for Ted Baker, with profit warnings, a sexual harassment scandal involving founder Ray Kelvin, and the sudden exits of chief executive Lindsay Page and chairman David Bernstein at the end of 2019.

As he resigned, Page said the prior 12 months had been the “most challenging” in Ted Baker’s history.

Page had only been chief executive for about nine months, after taking over from Kelvin, who quit earlier in the year amid the harassment scandal following allegations from staff.

Kelvin still owns 35 % of Ted Baker, and has denied all allegations.