The founder of Poundland is reportedly considering a return to the high street with a takeover of beleaguered rival Poundworld.
According to Press Association, Steven Smith is in early-stage talks about a bid to save part of Poundworld out of administration.
Smith founded Poundland in 1990 and sold the chain in 2002. He is now a retail consultant and speaker.
Smith has not commented on the possible takeover.
After officially appointing administrators on June 11, Poundworld has started closing down sales while searching for buyers in an effort to save what’s left of the business.
Last week, former chief executive Chris Edwards – who founded Poundworld in 1974 and sold it to TPG Capital in 2015 – tabled a bid to acquire 180 of its 335 stores, saving around 3000 jobs out of the 5100 at risk.
However, after a public row, administrators at Deloitte turned down Edwards’ bid.
Deloitte said no credible offers had yet been made and Edward’s offer was not high enough.
Deloitte also came under major criticism from Edwards, who said the administration process had “been handled badly” and that he was “shocked and surprised” that his bid for Poundworld was rejected.
The administrators have already made 100 people redundant at Poundworld’s head office in Normanton, West Yorkshire.
Deloitte is still in talks with a number of bidders in the hope of selling part of the business.
As part of the administration process Deloitte must first seek to sell the retailer as a going concern and, failing that, must achieve a better deal for creditors than they would secure by selling off Poundworld’s property.
Even with Edwards’ deal on the table, there was speculation up to 150 Poundworld stores could still shut down.