BC Partners and a consortium led by Warburg Pincus with TPG Capital are both thought to have withdrawn from the auction last night. The two parties are thought to have offered no more than£1.7 billion for the business.
New Look's private equity owners Apax and Permira are understood to be pursuing a refinancing of the fashion chain. However, they may also invite a third-party investor to take a stake in the business.
Apax and Permira attached a£2 billion price tag to New Look originally. However, trading in the fashion sector is difficult and this is believed to have affected the level of bids.
Apax and Permira took New Look private in a deal worth£699 million in 2004 and have doubled their£150 million investment through two refinancings. They own 66 per cent of the business.
No one from New Look was available for comment.