Alexon revealed yesterday it has received a takeover approach for the business, but did not confirm who it was from.
The fashion retailer said in a statement that it had received an indicative approach for the business, which was not materially above the closing mid-market price of 211.5p on February 2.
The independent directors said that the approach was at a very preliminary stage and that any proposal was likely to be subject to a number of material pre-conditions. The company stressed that there was no certainty that any offer would result.
Cognetas previously backed the management of Alexon in 1998, by investing in the heavily loss-making shoe chain Dolcis. The private equity firm put together a joint-venture vehicle to make the acquisition, with refinancing from EPE and Alexon. It gave Alexon a call option to buy EPE out, which they did in 1999 for just under two times the cost.
However, Alexon sold the struggling shoe chain Dolcis for about£3 million in December.