Retail round-up on April 03, 2016: Mike Ashley is plotting a bid to rescue BHS, Joules to press ahead with stock market listing and Pets at Home buys two specialist referral centres.

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley weighs up formal bid for entire BHS

Sports Direct’s billionaire owner Mike Ashley has said he is considering making a formal offer to administrators to rescue stricken BHS, pledging to save all jobs and keep all branches open.

Ashley said at the weekend he remained interested in purchasing the entire business.

“Any continuing interest that we have in BHS would be on the basis that we would anticipate that there would not be any job losses, including jobs at head office, and that all stores would remain open,” Ashley said in a statement to the Telegraph.

Co-operative Group chairman Allan Leighton is also mulling a bid for a large chunk of BHS stores.

Meanwhile, Arcadia chairman Lord Grabiner is due to be summoned to appear before the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills committee to help MPs understand why BHS was sold to Retail Acquisitions for £1 just over a year before its fall into administration.

MPs are also expected to call Tina Green, the wife of billionaire tycoon Sir Philip Green, to answer questions as part of their probe into the collapse of the high street chain.

Joules to move ahead with £140m Aim flotation plans

Fashion chain Joules is set to list on the London Stock Exchange’s Aim market by the end of next month with £140m market capitalisation, The Telegraph reported.

The initial public offering is likely to net the retailer’s founder Tom Joule around £40m as he reduces his 80% stake to less than 50%. However, he will continue in his role as chief brand officer.

The company is to have a free float in the region of 40% to 50%.

Conviviality Retail pays £60m to buy wine wholesaler Bibendum

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail has acquired wine wholesaler Bibendum for as much as £60m, The Telegraph reported.

The acquisition will not only involve a payment of £40m for Bibendum’s equity but also be accompanied by a £32m rights issue.

The acquisitive Aim-listed business is looking to conditionally place 15.6m new shares with institutional investors to raise the £32m.

Bibendum, which supplies wine, beer and spirits to some 4,000 restaurants, pubs and hotels across the UK, will increase the listed group’s annual turnover by 23%, with combined annual sales of more than £1.2bn.

Conviviality chief executive Diana Hunter said the purchase would bring “significant expertise to Conviviality in the off-trade wholesale market”.

Pets at Home acquires two vet specialist referral centres

Pets at Home is boosting its pet services’ business with the addition of two veterinary referral centres, The Telegraph reported.

The pets retailer has acquired a 76% stake in animal specialists Dick White Referrals for £14.1m.

They will operate the practice under the shared venture model through which the founder, Dick White, and other key clinicians, will retain 24% equity ownership.

Pets at Home has also snapped up animal opthalmologist firm Eye-Vet Referrals, which already provides services to one of the company's existing vet practices.

"We are delighted to welcome both Dick White Referrals and Eye-Vet Referrals to the Group," said chief executive Ian Kellett.

"These new shared ventures represent another strategic step in building our presence in the specialist referrals market, while enhancing our reputation with the UK's veterinary clinicians.”