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Phase Eight receives bid approaches

Womenswear chain Phase Eight is understood to have received a number of bid approaches.

It is believed that a string of bidders have made unsolicited offers for the chain, which anecdotally has traded well recently.

Department stores including Debenhams and John Lewis have all upped the space offered to the brand which has seen a revival under the leadership of Michael Rahamim, who was appointed chairman in January 2009.

It is understood that negotiations at the business, which was bought in 2007 for £51.5m by a consortium including Jane Norman chief executive Saj Shah and finance director Ian Findlay as well as Rahamim, are advanced.

Rahamim declined to comment on the potential sale. He told the Independent: “The business is performing to our satisfaction and we are focused on improving the performance of our business.”

Kaupthing Capital Partners, the buy-out unit of collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing, is understood to have a 49% shareholding in the business but it has been under the control of administrator Smith & Williamson since it was appointed in October 2008.

For the year to January 31 2009, Phase Eight notched up a 42% rise in pre-tax profits to £4.4m, versus £3.1m the year before. Turnover rose 11% to £59.2m.

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