Shop Direct has secured another potential buyer as private equity group Hellman & Friedman table a £2.5 billion bid.
The San Francisco-based firm is now thought to be one of the few remaining bidders for the online retailer, which operates online fashion retailers Littlewoods and Very.
Despite numerous companies expressing interest, many have avoided issuing a concrete offer and there is doubt the £3 billion asking price will be met.
Earlier this month CVC Capital and Advent International had walked away before making an offer.
The market’s reluctance is reportedly due to Shop Direct’s reliance on consumer credit, which is likely to come under increased regulation and suffer in the wake of waning consumer confidence.
Hellman & Friedman must stave off interest from Apax Partners who are thought to be most likely to meet the asking price, alongside BC Partners who have also expressed interest and are still in the race.