From BHS to Chelsea FC
Price of a 2.5kg bag of Iceland chips: £1.40
Cost of these iconic companies below: £1
Yep, that’s right. There exist iconic businesses that, at some point of time or the other, were literally cheaper than chips. Take a look:
BHS sold for £1
Sir Philip Green sold BHS for a £1 to investment fund Retail Acquisitions yesterday. The chain is debt-free but made a £69.6m loss on £675.7m of sales in 2013. The chain also has a £100m pension liability.
Founded in 1928 in Brixon, the chain has over 12,000 staff and over 180 stores.
Reader’s Digest sold for £1
In 2014, veteran venture capitalist Jon Moulton sold Reader’s Digest for a petty £1 to fellow VC Mike Luckwell.
Luckwell, whose worth £135m and has invested in Bob the Builder creator HIT Entertainment and WPP, said the acquisition will provide access to a database of more than 1.5 million Reader’s Digest customers.
Better Capital snapped up the business in April 2010 and invested £23m for resuscitating the company.
However, the investment couldn’t turnaround Reader’s Digest.
City Link sold for £1
In April 2013, Jon Moulton paid a quid to Rentokil Initial to acquire its “problem child” parcels business City Link. The business was loss-making since 2007. In 2012, operating losses at City Link were down to £26m, from £31m the year before.
Better Capital ploughed £40m in the business to better its financial health. On New Year’s Eve, City Link announced 2,356 job losses after turning down a last minute offer from a mysterious buyer to save the company.
Then in January 2015, City Link’s assets were sold to its rival DX for over £1m.
Millennium dome sold for £1
In 1994, John Major approved the idea of building a Millennium Dome to mark the new millennium. In May 1997, Labour won the election and after a lot pleading from the Tories, Tony Blair approved the scheme. The dome was launched on 31 December 1999 but failed to attract the six million Britons expected to walk through its doors. This pushed the Millennium Dome into bankruptcy and it was forced to shut within a year of its launch.
In 2001, the government sold the Dome for £1 to Meridian Delta, a consortium led by Philip Anschutz and owners of Bluewater shopping centre Lend Lease.
Then in 2005, Anschutz Entertainment Group sold the naming rights of the Dome to phone giant O2 in a £6m-a-year deal. The dome re-opened as O2 arena in 2007 with a Bon Jovi gig.
Chelsea Football Club sold for £1
Today, Chelsea Football Club is worth £324.4m, making it the seventh wealthiest football club in the world by revenue.
In 1982, it was sold for a measly £1. Who bought it? Businessman and hotelier Ken Bates, while taking on debts worth £1.5m. Bates helped the club fight eviction from its home in Stamford Bridge and also helped it win major trophies. In 2003, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the club for a grand £140m.
At the time, this was the biggest takeover in British football history.