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‘Don’t know how anyone could make money out of it’: Dick Smith stores to close

Dick Smith stores will close across AustraliaENTREPRENEURand adventurer Dick Smith has accused the private equity group that listed the Dick Smith electronics stores in a $520 million public float of “destroying” the business and putting close to 3,000 staff out of work after receivers, Ferrier Hodgson, announced it was shutting down the troubled chain.
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The founder of the original Dick Smith business said he had no interest in buying back the rights to the ‘Dick Smith’ name or any part of the troubled business.

“I haven’t been involved for 30 years,” he told Fairfax Media.

“When I owned Dick Smith it was a company selling electronic components. I’ve never been involved in consumer electronics I don’t know how anyone could make any money out of it,” Mr Smith said.

“I wouldn’t look at buying back the name but I’m incredibly angry about the utter dishonesty of Anchorage Capital and I hope ASIC and the Senate Inquiry do something about them,” Mr Smith said.

Anchorage bought Dick Smith from Woolworths for about $94 million in 2012, before listing it through a $520 million public float 15 months later.

Mr Smith said the people who lost the money in the share float must have known it was unlikely to be worth $500 million.

But he said he felt for the staff.

“The staff could still be there, if they didn’t have this ridiculous, never-ending growth strategy,” he said.

Dick Smith’s debts total about $400 million including $140 million to its banks, National Australia Bank and HSBC.

Dick Smith staff will now have to liquidate the remaining stock, which is understood to have a book value of about $200 million.

It’s the second fire sale in three months for the chain, which launched a desperate pre-Christmas clearance in a bid to prop up sagging sales.

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