New Look owner Christo Wiese considered adding Home Retail Group to his portfolio before Sainsbury’s bid for the group, it has emerged.

Christo Wiese

Christo Wiese

South African billionaire Christo Wiese

The South African billionaire, who acquired the fast fashion chain for £1.9bn in May 2015, broke off discussions with Argos to focus on other deals, according to the Sunday Times.

Wiese is also known to have eyed struggling department store BHS prior to Sir Philip Green selling the business to Retail Acquisitions last March.

He set up a UK shell company, Pepkor UK, in June 2014, which was designed to target UK retail takeovers. Former Asda boss Andy Bond was placed in charge of the company and co-founded Wiese’s value clothing chain, Pep & Co.

As revealed by Retail Week, Bond will also launch an as yet unnamed variety chain backed by Wiese later this year.

Sainsbury’s potential acquisition of Home Retail Group moved a step closer last week, after the grocer agreed an asking price with the Argos owner.

The possible offer, along with proposed capital returns, implies a value of 161.3p per Home Retail share and would value the business at approximately £1.3bn.

Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe said the deal would allow the supermarket giant to compete with the biggest non-food retailers in the UK, including Amazon, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

Coupe however warned that there were still a “series of hurdles” to come following the declaration of the proposed offer, including a three-week period of due diligence, a complete offer document, a shareholder vote and scrutiny from regulatory and competition watchdogs.