The retailer disclosed this afternoon that it has 'recently received a request from Lord Harris to explore the possibility of his making an offer for the company'. The board has authorised Harris, who is Carpetright's chairman and chief executive, to pursue the idea, but warned that 'there can be no certainty that any offer will be forthcoming'.
Analysts slashed their forecasts for Carpetright in April after the retailer reported disappointing trading and blamed the impact of interest rate rises for the fall.
News of Harris's approach sent Carpetright's shares soaring, taking its capitalisation up to£848 million. Teather & Greenwood salesman Rhys Williams put a take-out value of as much as£12 a share on Carpetright. 'Any higher and the deal looks undoable,' he said. 'We remain cautious, since they are currently trading at£13. It looks like they have run up too high already.'
Carpetright has 402 shops in the UK and Ireland and has been expanding in Europe, where it has 89 stores in Holland and Belgium. Harris launched the business from a single store in Canning Town, east London, in 1988 and took it public in 1993.