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New York hedge fund in talks over possible bid for Arnotts

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ICONIC: The store is a famous sight on Dublin’s Henry Street

ICONIC: The store is a famous sight on Dublin’s Henry Street

ICONIC: The store is a famous sight on Dublin’s Henry Street

New York-based hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group has discussed an Arnotts buyout with Ulster Bank, the Sunday Independent has learnt.

Anchorage was reported to have been represented in Ireland by former AIB executive Dan O'Connor in past Irish-asset bids. It is not known if it is in this instance working with Mr O'Connor, who was unavailable for comment.

In an indication of its spend appetite for Irish assets, Anchorage is believed to have bid on both waste management company Greenstar and utilities services firm Siteserv in the last year, though it isn't thought to have bought anything in Ireland as yet.

Siteserv sold for €45m, while Greenstar sold last week for an undisclosed figure, having been linked with €50m bids in the past.

Anchorage was a high bidder on Siteserv, which was ultimately bought by Digicel and INM magnate Denis O'Brien.

There have been several approaches to Arnotts' controlling creditors ahead of plans to officially bring it to the market later this year.

Those close to the store, which employs 600, hope for a new owner that would make a long-term commitment to the business rather than one that would quickly flip it for shorter-term profit.

Anchorage was also linked with the buying of distressed Spanish property assets late last year.

Irish Independent