Private equity fund offers £250m
US private equity company Apollo Management has emerged as the front-runner to buy or restructure Focus DIY.

It is understood that Apollo Management is in advanced talks with the UK DIY chain to finalise a deal worth about£250 million, which would also address Focus's debts of£280 million. Focus put itself up for sale in January.

However, it is understood that several other parties, including other private equity companies and Home Depot, the world's largest DIY chain, are still in the running. A deal will be unveiled in the next few weeks.

Focus's accounts in the year to the end of October showed it had£280 million of debt:£180 million of senior debt and£100 million in bonds. Focus declined to comment on the sale process.

The retailer's trading has improved this year, along with sales at its rivals B&Q, Homebase and Wickes. Focus told Retail Week that its like-for-like sales in the first three weeks of April had increased more than 10 per cent.