“One man’s loss is another man’s gain” is a fitting idiom at the moment as the UK high street magnate, Sir Philip Green, is in talks to invest in one of his biggest competitors, Baugur Group, that is on the brink of collapse following the financial turmoil in Iceland.

If the deal goes through, some of the retailers Green will get his hands on are the newly revamped department store chain House of Fraser, Karen Millen, toy store Hamleys, and Whistles, the mid-market chain of boutiques that is significantly headed by Jane Sheperdson, Topshop’s former Brand Director.

Although the deal won’t see Green buying the entire company, he’ll own a big chunk of it and is rumored to be willing to invest as much as £2 bn ($3.4 bn).

Baugur Group’s UK chairman, Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, said in a TV news flash last weekend that it would be better to sell the company’s debts to Green at “firesale” prices than to allow the retailers within the group to fold and having to make thousands of employees redundant.

It’s likely the deal will be sealed quickly. “It is of the utmost importance that if we are going to do something it is done as soon as possible,” said Green in a statement on Monday.

—Emma Holmqvist