• Edinburgh Woollen Mill chief executive Philip Day in running for Dobbies purchase
  • Terra Firma-owned Wyevale is also eyeing the garden chain
  • The deal is expected to complete before the EU referendum

Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day is understood to be eyeing Dobbies Garden Centres, which was put up for sale by Tesco.

The retail billionaire, who also owns Peacocks, is reportedly considering a bid for Dobbies, in which his Edinburgh Woollen Mill already has concessions.

Wyevale Garden Centres, owned by private equity firm Terra Firma, has also placed a bid for the Tesco-owned garden chain.

Investment bankers from Greenhill are assessing the potential buyers. The deal is expected to go through before the EU referendum vote on June 23, Horticulture Week reported, and is likely to be worth between £175m and £200m.

Tesco bought the 36-unit garden centre chain in 2008 but is looking to shift the business as part of its turnaround plan under new boss Dave Lewis.

If Wyevale emerges as the successful bidder, the group would have 175 sites, making it around six times bigger than its nearest rival.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill has around 100 concessions in garden centres and 300 stores overall.