McKillen's talks to buy Clerys came to a halt after disastrous summer flood
Engagement between the American owners of iconic department store Clerys and property investor Paddy McKillen ended after the disastrous flood that forced it to shut its doors, the Sunday Independent has learnt.
"They [Gordon Brothers] sent Paddy a proposal and he was very interested but everything was put on hold following the flooding and nothing has happened since," a source with knowledge of the situation said. Clerys new owners, however, denied that they were the ones who initiated talks.
An offer had gone before the business's credit committee for consideration, it is understood.
This week a directors' meeting is believed to have taken place regarding the future of the business.
As previously reported in the Sunday Independent, Gordon Brothers and Mr McKillen were in talks regarding an acquisition by Mr McKillen and his investment partners for in the region of €2m plus debts of €14m owed by Clerys to Bank of Ireland.
Gordon Brothers paid circa €1m for the business, buying it out of receivership.
In July, damages caused by storm flooding led to the store being shut.
"We will reopen before the holidays," Gordon Brothers chief executive Frank Morton said when contacted.
"A reopening date announcement will be made next week," he added.
"The business is not and was not for sale. There was no 'approach' to McKillen," Mr Morton maintained. "We have gotten many enquiries since the acquisition," he said.
"I hope when the customers see the inside of the new and improved Clerys they will understand it took some time to create it," said Mr Morton.
"There has been a lot of work done and still a lot left to do, and we look forward to a great holiday selling season.
"I think the customers are going to be really pleased with the new refurbished Clerys."
Mr McKillen's spokeswoman said he had no comment to make.