Former Boots chief executive Richard Baker is poised to launch a bid for discount retailer Matalan in his role at private equity firm Advent International.

Advent is thought to be gearing up to make a £1.5bn bid for Matalan. It is thought the offers have to be in by the end of this week, after Matalan founder and owner John Hargreaves set the deadline after putting the company up for sale last month.

Baker has joined Advent in the last few months, after improving Boots’ performance and paving the way for billionaire Stefano Pessina and private equity group KKR to buy the health and beauty giant.

Advent, which has investments in discount fashion retailers including German discount chain Takko as well as stakes in UK discount retailer Poundland and French discount retailer Stokomani, is understood to be a frontrunner in the bidding for the retailer.

The sale of Matalan will attract a number of heavyweight private-equity vehicles including TPG, Blackstone and CVC.