Private equity firm Apax is set to acquire a majority stake in luxury fashion retailer following a bidding war.

The terms of the detail were not disclosed but an £800m figure was rumoured prior to the sale, which is set to be finalised in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Founders Tom and Ruth Chapman, who founded 30 years ago with a single boutique in Wimbledon, retain a minority stake. So too do venture capital backers Scottish Equity Partners and Highland Europe.

The sale to Apax is set to be finalised in the fourth quarter of the year.

Chief executive Ulric Jerome said: “The management team and I are delighted to partner with Apax to continue to support’s growth on a global scale and realise our potential to become the number one luxury fashion commerce company in the world.

He added: “It is very important that, on behalf of everyone in the family, I recognise the incredible vision and work of our founders, Tom and Ruth.

“Over 30 years they have created an exceptional brand, renowned and recognised globally and respected by the industry. They gave this business its DNA and we will carry that forward.”