Halfords has reportedly hit the brakes on its rescue bid for Evans Cycles, effectively paving the way for other suitors, such as Sports Direct, to swoop in on the struggling bicycle retailer.
According to Sky News, despite tabling an offer last month, Halfords has ended discussions with Evans Cycles’ advisers.
Sources told Sky News that Halfords wanted to focus on existing upmarket fascias Cycle Republic and Tredz rather than pursue Evans Cycles.
Evans Cycles’ future now hangs in the balance again after it put itself up for sale last month, as it sought to secure £20 million to fund its rescue plan.
Founded in 1921 by London cyclist Frederick W Evans, the retailer is now owned by private equity firm ECI Partners, who originally appointed PwC to advise it on a financial restructuring and manage the sale.
PwC was reportedly in talks with a number of potential bidders before it began discussions with Halfords, one of which was Sports Direct.
The retail group, owned by retail tycoon Mike Ashley, is now regarded as a new favourite to acquire Evans given its recent rescue of House of Fraser immediately after it fell into administration.
Another potential frontrunner is JD Sports.
Sky News reported that any takeover of Evans Cycles is likely to value it at between £10 million and £20 million.