Confirmed bidders hoping to buy Matalan include founder Hargreaves
It’s getting close to crunch time regarding who gains ultimate control of Matalan. John Hargreaves, who founded and then floated the now-indebted fashion and lifestyle retailer almost 25 years ago, has reportedly made a last attempt to keep control the business, in a deal with Elliott Advisors’ private equity arm for a 50-50 offer.
However, Hargreaves is facing other potential buyers, including senior Matalan lenders and private equity firms Alteri and OpCapita, the Times reported. The other parties are understood to have submitted final bids later last week.
Matalan’s lenders, which reportedly include investment manager Invesco as well as UK hedge funds Tresidor Investment Management and Man GLG, began the sale of the debt-ridden company in late September.
The retailer has accrued £500m of debt in the past couple of years as a result of the pandemic’s impact on sales and, more recently, inflationary pressures. However, the retailer has at least deferred a deadline to refinance £350 million worth of debt by six months to July 2023.
At the start of the sale process, the lenders offered to provide £200 million of secured financing to bidders, who would need to find about £150 million of fresh equity themselves. The lenders are perceived to be in a strong position to seize control, the report claimed.
However, Hargreaves is understood to be hoping his intimate knowledge of the business, and the fact that his family owns the company that provides Matalan’s IT platform, will boost his success in the auction.
Meanwhile, Matalan is said to have told bidders that it expects to make underlying earnings of £30 million this year, reaching £114 million by 2026.
Sources expect the successful bidder will be selected in the coming weeks. Matalan has declined to comment.
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