Former Prince Andrew aide eyes role in takeover bid for Currys

Business

A former private secretary to Prince Andrew is playing a key role in the deliberations of a Chinese online retail giant over a possible bid for Currys, the high street electrical goods chain.

Sky News has learnt that Amanda Thirsk, who quit as the Duke of York’s private secretary nearly four years ago, is working in a senior business development role at JD.com.

Amanda Thirsk was Prince Andrew's private secretary
Image:
Ms Thirsk was Prince Andrew’s private secretary

A former banker, Ms Thirsk worked at Buckingham Palace for Prince Andrew from 2004 until the spring of 2020, when she reached a settlement to terminate her role in the aftermath of his disastrous interview with the BBC’s Panorama programme.

She is understood to have been working with JD, one of China’s biggest e-commerce groups, for much of the period since she left the Palace.

Ms Thirsk also quit her role as chief executive of Pitch@Palace, Prince Andrew’s flagship business venture, shortly after stepping down as Prince Andrew’s private secretary.

Sources said she was now involved in JD.com’s evaluation of a possible bid for Currys, which saw its shares soar last week after Sky News revealed that it had attracted takeover interest from Elliott Advisors, the private equity firm.

JD.com has yet to submit a formal offer for the London-listed retailer, but has been set a mid-March deadline by the Takeover Panel to do so or walk away.

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Listed on New York’s Nasdaq exchange and in Hong Kong, JD.com has over 600m customers globally.

It operates more than 1,600 warehouses in China, making it a vast logistics player even by the standards of the world’s most populous nation.

A spokesman for JD.com and Ms Thirsk both declined to comment.

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