Private equity houses including Cinven are vying to take over struggling maternity retailer Mothercare.

Cinven, which has previously invested in fashion chain Peacocks, is assessing whether to make a £150m plus offer for the retailer according to reports.

It is thought to be lining up an experienced retail executive to revive Mothercare’s ailing UK business with former Cath Kidston boss Paul Mason favourite to take the role according to the Sunday Times.

Mason has worked with Cinven several times in the past, most recently in its bid to buy discount food chain Netto last year.

The firm has yet to approach Mothercare but is understood to be carrying out detailed work on a possible takeover.

Other private equity groups Montagu Private Equity and CVC are also understood to be circling the mother-and-baby chain.

The retailer, led by chairman Alan Parker, has had a torrid time in the UK. It has issued three profits warnings this year and revealed last month that it made an underlying loss of £4.4m in the first half compared to profit of £12.2m last year.

Mothercare parted company with its chief executive of nine years Ben Gordon last month.