// The auction of Boots is at risk of falling apart as debt markets seize up and consumer confidence drops
// There are now doubts over whether a bid will emerge from the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR, the joint owners of Asda
Speculation is growing that the sale of Boots could collapse as potential buyers struggle to raise funds from lenders.
Asda owners, the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity giant TDR, who had been in the running to buy the health and beauty retailer has struggled to raise funding for the acquisition against a backdrop of weakening consumer confidence.
A source close to the brothers told The Sunday Times: “It’s looking tough. The debt markets are closed,” the source said.
- Asia’s richest man lodges £5.5bn bid for Boots
- Boots suitors given more time to bid for £7bn business
- Reliance and Apollo plan joint bid for Boots
The Issas and TDR’s big competition is understood to be New York-based private equity firm Apollo and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, who have teamed up to make a £5.5 billion bid for the health and beauty retailer.
The joint bid was around £1.5bn below the £7bn that Boots’ US owner Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) was seeking.
Back in March, a consortium made up of private equity giants CVC and Bain withdrew from the race after admitting they would only be willing to cough up £4bn for the pharmacy chain.
Boots trades from more than 2000 stores and employs over 50,000 people, making it one of the UK’s biggest private sector employers.