Cycles etailer Wiggle has entered exclusive talks with private equity firm Bridgepoint about buying the business.
If the deal is concluded, it is likely to value the etailer at between £180m to £200m.
Bridgepoint fought off competition from private equity firm EQT.
Both Wiggle – which is owned by Isis Equity Partners - and Bridgepoint are keen to complete the deal swiftly, it is understood.
A source close to Wiggle told Retail Week: “It is a good partner for Wiggle because Bridgepoint has a strong retail focus and is well equipped to grow Wiggle because of its international nature.
“It’s a vote of confidence in the future potential of UK retail in a difficult economic climate.”
Wiggle had been running a dual-track process whereby it was considering a float on the Stock Exchange as well as a sale. However, any float would have proved difficult due to the uncertain economic outlook.
Bridgepoint owns both arts and crafts retailer HobbyCraft and clothing chain Fat Face. It is believed to have been attracted by Wiggle’s international strategy and its strong position in the increasingly popular cycling market.
In the year to January 31, Wiggle posted record EBITDA, up from £7.5m to £10.5m, while turnover soared 55% to £86.8m.