• Matalan founder John Hargreaves is a frontrunner for the BHS rescue bid alongside Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley and Edinburgh Woolen Mill owner Philip Day
  • Property millionaire Yousuf Bhailok has withdrawn his bid “in light of certain risk factors”
  • Administrators said they will only accept bids for the entirety of BHS’ store estate and outstanding debt

Matalan founder John Hargreaves is involved in a rescue bid for BHS as property millionaire Yousuf Bhailok withdraws his offer.

The founder of Matalan is the man behind the mystery rescue bid for BHS, according to the Telegraph.

It is understood that Hargreaves’ bid for BHS is unrelated to Matalan – which issued a profit warning in January and was put into Lloyds Banking Group’s business support unit in February due to weak trading – and that he is working with a rival retailer ahead of today’s bid deadline.

Hargreaves joins Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley and Edinburgh Woolen Mill and Peacocks owner Philip Day as a potential white knight for BHS, while property millionaire Bhailok has withdrawn his offer for the embattled retailer.

“Caution has to be exercised in light of certain risk factors as far as the overall level of the bid,” said Bhailok.

“We believe we have to keep within our parameters if we were to successfully revive the vast majority of the operation.”

Administrators Duff & Phelps asked interested parties to raise their bids yesterday and have said they will only accept offers for BHS’ 164-strong store estate, a move that will rule out Ikea and B&M, who were revealed by Retail Week to be interested in a selection of BHS’ stores.

Administrators have also said that bidders must take on BHS’ outstanding debt of £85m, although the retailer’s £571m pension deficit will be passed onto the Pension Protection Fund.