Retail news round-up on April 13, 2015: ECI front-runner to snap up Evans Cycles, Amazon gets US nod for ‘Prime Air’ drone testing, Poundland chief disappointed over competition investigation, and more.

ECI front-runner to snap up Evans Cycles

Private equity firm ECI Partners is close to clinching a deal to acquire bike chain Evans Cycles that values the business for around £100m, The Telegraph reported. If its owner Active Capital achieves a sale of £100m, it would value the cycle retailer at over 13 times last year’s earnings of £7.5m, providing fresh evidence of a trend towards steep multiples in private-equity deals. PAI Partners was said to be a close competitor, alongside mid-market British peers at Equistone and Graphite.

Amazon gets US nod for ‘Prime Air’ drone testing

Amazon has secured permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration to commence testing an updated version of its ‘Prime Air’ drone service in the US. The etailer received regulatory approvals last month to run trails on another prototype of the drone. The online giant will now be able to run multi-rotor drones weighing less than 25kg (including payload) at speeds of up to 100mph, according to The Telegraph. But the drones cannot fly above 400ft and be ‘operated within visual line of sight at all times of the pilot in command’.

Founder of Charles Tyrwhitt gets hefty payday in 2014

Charles Tyrwhitt’s founder Nick Wheeler has been handed a hefty £15.7m payday last year after his company saw sales jump by a fifth, Daily Mail reported. The upmarket shirt retailer’s turnover for the year to August 2, 2014, rose by 20% to £145m. Profits increased from £14.5m to £17.5m.

Losses increase at Debenhams Ireland

Debenhams Retail Ireland’s losses widened from €6.97m in 2013 to €8.49m for the year to the end of August 2014, The Irish Times reported. This was largely due to the weakness of the euro against sterling. Revenues at the Irish arm of the department store retailer rose slightly last year from €162.1m previously to €163.5m

Poundland chief ‘disappointed’ after CMA intervention of 99p Stores buyout

Poundland chief executive Jim McCarthy has expressed his disappointment that its proposed £55m buyout of rival discount store 99p Stores has been impeded by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Speaking to The Telegraph, the boss said he was both ‘disappointed and surprised’ by the intervention of the CMA in its proposed acquisition. The regulator has now said it will move to a more in-depth investigation if its concerns are not addressed in a ‘clear-cut manner’ by the companies.

Phones 4U creditors to learn fate of their money

Phones 4U creditors will this week learn how much money can be salvaged by administrators, although most are expected to receive nothing. PwC will give creditors a progress report on its work since Phones 4U’s demise in September last year, when the high street chain ceased trading with unsecured debts of £168m.