First-round bids have been submitted by a cluster of private equity firms circling discount retailer B&M Bargains.

Apax, BC Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Cinven are among those in the running to purchase the rapidly growing discount retailer, which is up for sale for £850m.

B&M Bargains, owned by brothers Simon, Bobby and Robin Arora, appointed Rothschild in September to handle a sale of the 290-store business. 

The Arora brothers are estimated to have a collective wealth of £487m and the business had fewer than 20 stores when they purchased the company from Phildrew Ventures in 2005.

If the retailer were to strike a deal with a private equity buyer, it is expected to include a new, bigger banking facility, The Daily Telegraph reported.

B&M Bargains is targeting a 400-store estate by 2015 and is expected to report EBITDA of £90m and sales of £1bn in 2012 as the economic climate continues to drive shoppers to the discount sector. 

A report by Kantar Retail last month identified B&M Bargains as the “rising star” of retail alongside the likes of Aldi, Ocado, Amazon and Waitrose, among 15 of Europe’s top retail prospects.