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Founded Year

2005

About Shop Direct

Shop Direct is a multi-brand online retailer in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company's digital department stores include Very.co.uk, Littewoods.com, VeryExclusive.co.uk and LittlewoodsIreland.ie.

Headquarters Location

Skyways House Speke Road, Speke

Liverpool, England, L70 1AB,

United Kingdom

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Latest Shop Direct News

The Bank That Seized the Telegraph From Britain's Barclay Family

Jun 10, 2023

The Bank That Seized the Telegraph From Britain's Barclay Family Fed Is First to Reach Crucial Junction in Global Inflation Fight Regional Bank Stocks Flash Signs of Life in Fourth Weekly Gain Two of Paul Newman’s Daytona Rolexes Sell for More than $1 Million Toronto developers keen to convert offices to housing say city rules are a barrier HSBC Among UK Banks Pulling Mortgage Deals From the Market Again Canada Sheds 17,300 Jobs in First Decline in Nine Months Pandemic Aid Saved Millions of Americans From Eviction and the Data Proves It PacWest Begins Sale of $5.7 Billion Loan Portfolio to Kennedy Wilson China’s Inflation Stays Near Zero as Economic Recovery Stalls UAE Clean Energy Firm Masdar Plans First Green Bond Sale in June Climate Change and Homeowners’ Insurance Are on a Collision Course Swedes’ View on Housing Market Brightens as Rates May Soon Peak Delinquent Office Loans at Five-Year High Trouble Commercial Mortgage Bond Market Digital Realty Director Resigns Citing Governance Practices Wildfires Pose Workplace Conundrum: Stay Home or Come to the Office? Las Vegas’ Top Landlord Looks at Spas, Water Parks for Future Growth What’s Trending Today: Wildfire Smoke Rages On, Tucker Carlson’s Contract, Denver Nuggets Win Game 3 DeSantis Says He Can Make the US Richer Like Florida. The Reality Is More Complicated UK Property Surveyors Turn More Positive Despite Rising Rates The Bank That Seized the Telegraph From Britain's Barclay Family Telecom Italia Gets Two New Offers for Landline Network Joyvio Files Fraud Complaint After Chilean Salmon Deal Went Sour Credit Suisse CEO Memo Signals UBS Deal to Close Monday Ukraine Recap: Missiles Fly After Putin Derides Counteroffensive A Peek Inside the VIP Speakeasy Lounge at the 2023 Tony Awards Crypto Markets Slump as US Regulatory Crackdown Spooks Investors Crispin Odey Removed as Partner From His Hedge Fund Firm Ukraine Warns of Toxic Black Sea ‘Garbage Dump’ From Dam Debris GameStop Needs Ryan Cohen More Than Ever to Maintain Meme Status Fed Is First to Reach Crucial Junction in Global Inflation Fight Credit Suisse Loses Three More Investment Bankers to Banco Santander Pakistan in Talks to Restructure Debt With Bilateral Creditors Canada's Wildfires Expose the Climate Change 'Spiral of Silence' Barclays Warns Former Staff Over Poaching Its Employees, FT Says Thai Election Agency to Probe PM Frontrunner Pita: Bangkok Post Charting the Global Economy: Weak Trade Shows China Struggling Nigeria’s SEC Says Binance Operations in Country Are ‘Illegal’ Leeds United Says Deal Reached for 49ers Enterprises to Buy Club Ukraine Recap: Missiles Fly After Putin Derides Counteroffensive Iraq, US Talks Lead to ‘Substantial’ Iran Gas Dues Arrangements Ukraine Warns of Toxic Black Sea ‘Garbage Dump’ From Dam Debris New York and East Coast Get Reprieve From Smoke as Skies Clear Canada's Wildfires Expose the Climate Change 'Spiral of Silence' Charting the Global Economy: Weak Trade Shows China Struggling US Expands China Forced-Labor Embargo With Ban on Two New Firms Fitch Cuts Tunisia Deeper Into Junk as IMF Deal Seen Delayed Cost of Your Caffeine and Sugar Fix to Stay High on El Niño Egypt’s Inflation Accelerates Anew to Stay Above 30% A Landlocked German Boardmaker Is Trying to Make Surfing Greener Starmer Sacrifices Key Proposal to Protect His Path to Victory Argentina to Get $500 Million Chevron Investment, Massa Says Trump Indictment Is Unsealed in Classified Documents Case China Drills in Deeper Waters to Cut Reliance on Foreign Oil US Will Buy 3 Million More Barrels of Oil for Emergency Reserve U.S. tech trim gains as S&P 500 pushes into bull market Banxico to Hold Key Rate for ‘as Long as Possible,’ Board Member Says After Lobbying Crush, Biden Set to Boost Biodiesel in Nation’s Fuel The Daily Chase: Canada loses jobs in May; Brookfield to snap up Network International Citi economist who called Bank of Canada rate hike predicts another to come Manulife's Donald rues Bank of Canada hike, sees recession soon Bank of Canada now eyeing 'corporate pricing behaviour' in its inflation fight Stretched thin, parents have swath of options to save for children's education The Daily Chase: Canadian wildfires rage; Transat raises forecast amid strong travel demand Trudeau shows no interest in compromising with Meta, Google over online news bill Canada's surprise hike exposes global struggle to find endpoint for rates What mortgage owners need to know about the Bank of Canada's rate hike Rental market will suffer most amid Bank of Canada interest rate hike: Experts In a surprise move, Bank of Canada hikes key interest rate to 4.75% READ: Full text of Bank of Canada's latest interest rate decision Statistics Canada reports merchandise trade surplus rose to $1.9B in April Former Bank of Canada economist says communications likely played into rate hike decision The Daily Chase: Awaiting Bank of Canada rate decision; 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El-Erian Apple, JPMorgan turn to pay now grow later Remote Working Boom Is Huge for College Towns Like Knoxville Walmart flashes a warning sign to the entire consumer economy: Andrea Felsted Millennials are finally spending like grown-ups Dismal U.S. GDP report raises the odds of recession this year: Gary Shilling Musk is wrong for Twitter even if deal math works out Chocolate bunnies can teach us to save our food supply The Fed has made a U.S. recession inevitable America's oil reserve weapon risks misfiring Four-day workweeks can burn you out U.S. Fed expects a soft landing. Don't count on it Markets are pushing Fed into developing-economy territory Commodity traders go from bonanza to bailout plea Putin's war shows West must clean up dirty money Salary transparency is good for everyone Microsoft's US$69B Activision deal could be a blunder What if the oil market bulls are wrong and this lonely bear is right? Canada's trucker protest may spread from Ottawa to U.S. Natural Gas ETF Buying Spree Has Traders Fearing Wild Swings Stumbling Megacap Stocks Send Record $1 Billion to Equal-Weight ETF Media Conglomerate Vivendi Loses Spot on France's CAC 40; Edenred to Join Cathie Wood Says Binance’s Legal Woes Are Good for Coinbase Top South Africa Fund Bets on Platinum as Power Cuts Hit Miners Chinese Investors Flock to Japan ETFs as Local Market Slumps Tech-Heavy China Stock Index Hits Three-Year Low as Bets Unravel Cathie Wood Boosts Coinbase Stake as SEC Crypto Crackdown Widens Rishi Sunak Seeks Closer Economic Ties in First White House Visit A Retail Exodus from US Stocks Points to Gains Ahead, Bank of America Says Crypto Markets Carry On After SEC Clampdown on Largest Exchanges Biggest Junk-Bond ETF Attracts Most Cash Since 2020 as Rally Builds PayPal’s 80% Stock Plunge Hasn’t Soured Wall Street Goldman Sachs Takes Aim at JPMorgan’s Billions With Copycat ETFs ESG Fund Manager Beats 99% of Peers With Giant Bet on Nvidia K-Pop Stocks’ $5.4 Billion Rally Emboldens Bulls Cboe Is Now Listing Companies Alongside NYSE and Nasdaq Investors Are Dumping Value Funds to Shovel Money Into AI Bets Goldman’s Hedge Fund ETF Is Crushing the S&P 500 With AI Bets BCE You are now being redirected to the BCE.ca website (Bell Canada Enterprises), where you can view our Accessibility plan, and submit your feedback using our Accessibility webform. Katherine Griffiths, Lucca De Paoli, Irene Garcia Perez and Benjamin Stupples, Bloomberg News , Source: companies house filings (Bloomberg) -- The UK’s biggest high street bank now owns one of the country’s best-known newspapers — something Lloyds Banking Group Plc had been determined to avoid as it tried to claw back £1 billion of debts from the owners of the Sunday and Daily Telegraph. The lender finally pulled the plug this week following years of negotiations with the Barclay family — which has owned the newspaper titles since 2004. In recent weeks, the bank had pressed the family to put forward its best plan to shrink the company's debt pile. The response disappointed Lloyds: it included a request for the bank to take a haircut on its loan. The terms were unacceptable to the lender, according to people with knowledge of the discussions who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Attempts to tweak the offer over the last week failed to impress Lloyds, the people said. In the end the bank ran out of patience with the publisher forcing B.UK, the Bermudian-based holding company for the Telegraph Media Group into receivership on Wednesday. The bank says it now plans to sell the titles, with several possible buyers from rival media groups to wealthy individuals linked with a deal. Lloyds taking control of some of the nation’s best known titles shocked the media and political world in Britain. It has thrown up questions about the future ownership of the Telegraph newspapers, which have stridently backed both Brexit and the ruling Conservative Party, ahead of a general election expected next year. The dramatic move has turned the spotlight on the family and the rest of its shrinking business empire. The bank’s intervention might not be the end of it. Sitting in a separate structure from the media assets is the family’s e-commerce business Shop Direct Holdings — the holding company for Very Group — which accounted for most of the empire’s revenue in 2020-21, according to company filings. Lloyds is focusing on the Telegraph titles, but possible solutions to the unpaid debts could involve that part of the business, according to several people involved in the talks. However, they cautioned it would be complicated, with Very having other influential stakeholders, such as Carlyle Group Inc. A spokesman for the US private equity firm declined to comment. Lloyds has hired AlixPartners and investment bank Lazard to assist in the restructuring, while the Barclay family has been using Houlihan Lokey to examine its options. Representatives at all three firms declined to comment for this story. In a statement on Wednesday, AlixPartners said the publications haven’t entered administration, and their day-to-day running will continue as normal. Though the Barclays have lost control of the newspapers, a  spokesperson for the family emphasized that the publications themselves are unaffected by Lloyds’s actions for now. “The loans in question are related to the family’s overarching ownership structure of its Media Assets,” the spokesperson said. “They do not, in any way, affect the operations or financial stability of Telegraph Media Group.” For the family, headed by twins Frederick and David until the latter’s death in 2021, it marks a rare and unwelcome appearance on the front pages. In 2021, internal family divisions were laid bare in the Royal Courts of Justice when Frederick Barclay was ordered to pay £100 million to resolve a divorce case. A separate legal action brought by Frederick against other members of the family alleged that some had been using bugging devices to spy on others in the family-owned Ritz Hotel. In one of their most recent high-profile disposals they sold the Ritz, one of London’s most famous luxury hotels, to a Qatari investor group for almost £800 million in 2020. With the loan to Lloyds already in default at that point, some of the proceeds of the Ritz sale went to the bank, one of the people said. Citigroup was among the other recipients of the proceeds, the person added. A spokesman for the New York-based lender declined to comment. Change of Banker Lloyds has financed the Barclays for almost two decades. The loan which triggered the receivership was initially signed off by Peter Cummings, once one of the UK’s most powerful bankers who wrote huge checks for the likes of Philip Green, the Reuben Brothers and the Barclays, who were then among the richest families in the country. Lloyds inherited some of those loans when it bought Cummings’ employer — Bank of Scotland, part of rival HBOS — in a rescue takeover by Lloyds at the height of the financial crisis in 2009. Within two years, Antonio Horta-Osorio became chief executive officer, taking the bank from the brink of nationalization back to full private ownership inside a decade. The loan to the Barclay family was among the biggest single exposures Lloyds inherited from HBOS, at one point hitting a level of about £1.5 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. A spokesperson for the Barclay family declined to comment. Lloyds worked to manage the risk, bringing it down to about £1 billion, writing off much of its value in its accounts and adding conditions to give the bank more security against the debt over time, the person said. That effectively put Lloyds in the position where it could seize the newspapers if necessary, the person said. Steven Shelley, group chief risk officer, is one of the key people inside Lloyds who has dealt with the loan. Horta-Osorio also discussed the repayment of the loan with Aidan Barclay, chairman of the media group and son of David, on several occasions. Spokesmen for Horta-Osorio, Lloyds and the Barclay family declined to comment, while Shelley didn’t respond. If Horta-Osorio laid the groundwork, it was his successor, Charlie Nunn, who pulled the trigger. Given the substantial write down Lloyds has already made on the value of the debt, any sale could produce a sizeable benefit in the form of a write-back. Even so, the bank might not get the full value of the loan back. Divorces and Court Cases The loss of the Telegraph newspapers represents a major fall from grace for the Barclay brothers. Having grown up with little money, they started their careers in the accounts department of General Electric Co., going on to buy companies others did not want and building a valuable portfolio. By 1993, they had bought their own £2.3 million island, Brecqhou, in the Channel Islands. Read More: Billionaire Twins Shaking Up Opaque U.K. Business Empire In 2004, they won a bidding battle and bought the Telegraph, with Aidan Barclay becoming chairman — a job he relished. He took an interventionist approach, for example calling the news desk when former prime minister Margaret Thatcher died in 2013 to ensure the reporting mentioned it happened at the Barclay-owned Ritz Hotel, according to a staff member who worked there at the time who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The family was also able to promote its anti-European Union opinions through the newspaper, which over time took trenchant views on Brexit and employed Boris Johnson as a columnist before he became prime minister. The family business sits within a byzantine structure of offshore trusts in jurisdictions that require little public disclosure. Those opaque entities sit at the top of several of the family’s businesses in the UK, which include The Telegraph, The Very Group and a number of other firms. A forensic report carried out by accountants at KPMG and submitted as evidence during Frederick Barclay’s trial for contempt in 2022, after he refused to pay the £100 million, offers a picture of the family's empire, where debts have been rising. The report was commissioned by lawyers acting for Barclay’s former wife. Simon Albrighton, a partner at the accountancy firm, was asked to value loan notes issued from one offshore Barclay’s family trust and held by another to assess the ability of Frederick to pay the money he owes as part of the divorce settlement. A lack of disclosure about the chain of companies that hold the Barclay’s assets made this job impossible, the accountant concluded in the report. “I have not received any financial information, nor have I been able to identify such financial information publicly, in respect of the offshore parent companies of the underlying businesses,” Albrighton wrote in the report, obtained by Bloomberg from a court filing. “As a result, I am not able to assess the financial position of the business empire as a whole.” The report also identified a steadily increasing level of indebtedness at the operating companies which had risen to nearly £2.5 billion by 2019 from £1.6 billion in 2010. The spokesperson for the Barclay family declined to comment on the figures. Shop Direct Holdings, the holding company of the Very Group, and the largest business the Barclays own, was owed a significant amount of money by its offshore parent company, Albrighton noted in his report. Deciphering the state of the Barclay's financial affairs is further complicated by a web of loans between companies tied to the family. The owner of delivery service Yodel has been owed funds in the past from a Very Group unit, but also from a London-based property management business controlled by the Barclay family. In addition, Aidan Barclay has loaned funds to Shop Direct Holdings, and had £123 million outstanding at the end of June 2021 that was later repaid to him in full, according to UK registry filings. Suitors Circling A sale could still be months away. Lloyds’s team of receivers are now going through the inner workings of the Barclay’s publishing business to understand the details. A new buyer of a major national newspaper would likely be subject to a government antitrust review. Meanwhile, staff at the newspaper were this week playing down the impact of the turmoil. In an email to staff, the Telegraph Media Group’s CEO Nick Hugh said he did not “anticipate any operational or staff changes.” In a separate email, Daily Telegraph editor Chris Evans said, “there's every reason to be optimistic whatever the outcome.” With the fate of the newspapers uncertain, it took Matt — the newspaper’s longstanding cartoonist — to inject some gallows humor. “I hear we're going to be bought by Prince Harry,” his daily cartoon quipped. “He's always been interested in journalism.” ©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

Shop Direct Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • When was Shop Direct founded?

    Shop Direct was founded in 2005.

  • Where is Shop Direct's headquarters?

    Shop Direct's headquarters is located at Skyways House, Liverpool.

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