Shop Direct’s £3bn sale process has entered the next stage of bidding, with three known parties currently in the ring.
San Francisco-based private-equity house Hellman and Friedman is understood to have tabled a £2.5bn bid for the Barclay Brothers-owned retailer, according to The Sunday Times.
Other bidders include former New Look investor Apax Partners, which is thought to have offered the £3bn asking price, and BC Partners.
Shop Direct’s transformation under boss Alex Baldock from declining catalogue retailer to pureplay business has been accompanied by soaring sales and profits, driven by its fashion growth engine Very.
However, City observers have told Retail Week that the consumer credit part of Shop Direct’s business could deter private-equity firms due to the inherent risk it carries.
The Barclay Brothers are prepared to abandon the sale if offers fail to match their expectation, The Sunday Times reported.