is fast approaching an £800m sale to Apax Partners as the bidding war for the luxury retailer heats up.

Private-equity firm Apax Partners is understood to be nearing a deal to snap up a controlling stake in the fashion retailer.

According to Sky News, Matchesfashion, which was founded by Tom and Ruth Chapman in 1987, could formalise a deal with Apax within days.

However, sources close to the situation have stressed that Apax Partners could be bested by a rival offer.

A clutch of private-equity firms including KKR, Permira and Bain Capital have been linked to a possible sale of the business.

If a deal were to go through, it would put the husband and wife founding duo among the most successful entrepreneurs in the UK, with a windfall in excess of £300m.

Matchesfashion posted soaring sales and profits in March and unveiled plans to launch a tech and design studio in East London earlier this month.