BHS’S overseas stores have been sold to a Qatari company owned by Janet Jackson’s husband.
Some 70 shops have been bought by Doha-based Al Mana Group, the firm of 41-year-old Wissam Al Mana who married the pop star, 50, in 2012.
The amount paid for the overseas stores has not been disclosed. Al Mana, which was founded in 1951, runs Harvey Nichols, Zara and Mango stores in the Middle East and also counts designer brands such as Hermes and Alexander McQueen among its portfolio.
The BHS deal was secured by administrators Duff & Phelps who continue to work on the future of the remaining 164 UK shops, as the fate of 11,000 staff hangs in the balance.
The overseas sale is likely to benefit the 150 employees who work on the BHS website, and could ease the pain of the retailer’s creditors who are owed more than £1billion.
Suppliers owed money by BHS, which at present is still trading, and the company’s other unsecured creditors were told last week that they could expect to recoup just 3p for every £1 they are owed.
The retailer is struggling to find a buyer since going into administration in April, just over a year after it was sold for £1 by former owner Sir Philip Green to three-times bankrupt Dominic Chappell, who had no retail experience.
The biggest hurdle to be overcome is the £571million pensions black hole at the 88-year-old retailer, which could eventually be taken on by the Pension Protection Fund lifeboat scheme if no alternative is found.
Green, who has been questioned by MPs as part of their investigations into BHS’s downfall, is in the process of trying to come up with a rescue plan.
Should the pensions be taken on by the PPF, the 20,000 members will be protected. But existing staff would see benefits cut by 10 per cent, with senior management suffering a larger reduction.
Duff & Phelps declined to comment.