The Portuguese-backed consortium which was in detailed talks to buy BHS until this week “vanished” despite amassing a bill for advisory fees of well over £1m.
Sky News has learnt that Richess Group, a corporate vehicle whose directors include the brother of the former England cricketer Phil Tufnell, hired two of the City’s biggest law firms and took advice from a major accountancy firm as it sought to acquire BHS out of administration.
The department store chain’s failure to find a buyer deepened the crisis on Britain’s high streets this week and intensified the scrutiny on Sir Philip Green and Dominic Chappell, BHS’s former owners, ahead of their appearances before MPs later this month.
City sources said Richess had racked up a bill worth around £1.5m in the last few weeks.
The bidder’s law firm – Mishcon de Reya, one of the most prominent names in the profession – is understood to have told administrators that its client wanted to buy BHS even after a public statement that the high street chain would be wound down after no buyer had been found.