Matalan founder John Hargreaves is reported to be leading the race to acquire BHS with an offer of between £60m and £75m made with Select Fashions owner Cafer Mahiroglu.
The offer is thought to be for the business and £40m to £50m of unsold stock, The Guardian has reported.
It is understood that Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley’s offer is too low, while Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day has stepped back from proceedings, leaving Hargreaves and Mahiroglu, and one other “well-funded” European investor.
However, administrator Duff & Phelps has lined up restructuring firms Gordon Brothers, Hilco Capital and Alteri Investors to assess how much the business would be worth if it were sold in smaller packages rather than a whole, The Daily Telegraph has reported.
A deal is expected early next week.
Hargreaves won the prestigious Drapers Lifetime Achievement Award last year for his career establishing Matalan, which also turned 30 in 2015.