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Deadline for Peacocks bids looms as other retailers target the stores

Private equity firms including Permira and Cinven have ruled out buying Peacocks, while other investment firms and retailers eye its stores.

The two big private equity houses, which had previously been linked to snapping up the collapsed retailer, said they would not be making an offer as neither were interested in turnarounds.

It is understood both Alliance Boots and Pets at Home owner KKR and OpCapita, which is set to acquire struggling electricals retailer Comet next month, may be more open to buying Peacocks.

Another private equity firm Sun European, which bought Peacocks sister chain Bonmarche this week, is thought be among those in talks regarding a takeover of Peacocks.

Former Peacock Group chief executive Richard Kirk, who tried to orchestrate a rescue deal before it collapsed into administration last week, has ruled himself out of a further bid.

Administrator KPMG said it had received 100 enquiries from parties interested in buying the whole or parts of the business in the 48 hours after its collapse.

It is understood that more than 10 of the enquiries are viewed as “serious”. The administrator is in talks with trade and financial investors. First-round bids due to be submitted by Monday.

It is hoped a successful buyer for the 563-store value fashion chain will emerge and save as many of the 9,600 jobs as possible. 249 head office roles have already been axed following the administration.

However, a sale of the retailer remains uncertain. One source close to the situation said there was still doubt whether a buyer would stump up the £60m needed to save the business, and that a liquidation could still be on the cards. It is thought the business could be sold for between £25m to £30m, but that a further £30m to £35m of working capital would be needed subsequently.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill, which bought Jane Norman out of administration last year, wants to take on some Peacock stores as it seeks to open 250 stores this year across the group.

Variety store Poundland and fashion retailers Blue Inc and Select are also understood to be among those interested in taking a chunk of Peacocks stores.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Interesting that Permira and Cinven have ruled out buying Peacocks as neither are interested in turnarounds. I thought that Peacocks was a profitable business with a healthy operating profit. They have certainly invested over recent years in logistics and ecommerce so there should be no need for immediate additional investment, so where’s the turnaround? Is there something that we aren’t being told, or do the PE houses not know their ‘a’s from their ‘e’s?

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