The owners of Shop Direct are reportedly putting the online retailer up for sale for £3bn, as talks with potential new owners begin.
According to Sky News, the online department store – which is owned by the reclusive Barclay brothers – has attracted the attention of a few private equity firms and management is set to begin negotiations with them in the coming weeks.
The interested parties include Advent International, Bain Capital, BC Partners, Cinven, CVC Capital Partners and Permira.
While there is no guarantee a formal offer or deal would be made, the talks could still potentially lead to the full or partial sale of Shop Direct.
Sky News said the Barclay brothers – who also own The Telegraph – want to secure bids of £3 billion-plus for Shop Direct to reflect its value while also taking its £1 billion debt into account.
Investment bank UBS is leading the sale process and overseeing discussions between the online retailer and the interested private equity firms.
Shop Direct, which is run by Alex Baldock and also owns online retailers Very and Littlewoods, was one of the top performers over the Christmas trading period with a nine per cent rise in year-on-year sales.