Retail entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter has entered exclusive talks with private equity firm Silverfleet Capital to sell footwear retailer Office for about £150m.

T J Hughes investor Silverfleet Capital and PAI Partners, the private equity firm behind Spanish fashion retail giant Cortefiel, last month emerged as two of the bidders for Office.

Investment bank Merrill Lynch and private equity firms Blackstone and TPG were also understood to have made first round bids for the footwear chain, which was put up for sale in July for offers of between £150m and £200m, following unsolicited approaches for the company.

Hunter bought Office for £16m in 2003. The company enjoyed a strong performance in the year to January 31, when EBITDA rose to £18.5m, up from £10.5m the year before.

Office declined to comment.