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John Hargreaves makes final attempt at keeping control of indebted Matalan

Chloe Burney
19 December 2022

Matalan's Founder John Hargreaves has tabled a final offer in an attempt to keep control of the indebted British discount store.

The retail tycoon, who recently stepped down from the board, has teamed up with the private equity arm of Elliott Advisors on a 50-50 bid. His bid commits to inject capital into Matalan, which employs 13,000 people across 230 UK stores.

Hargreaves sold second-hand Marks & Spencer clothes from a market stall as a teenager, before opening Matalan in 1998 and moving to tax-haven Monaco in 2000, when he sold a portion of his stake in the company. Earlier this year, a court ruled that he is liable to pay up to £135 million of capital gains tax on the share sale.

The other parties auctioning for control of Matalan are reportedly its senior lenders and the firms Alteri and OpCapita, which also submitted final bids last Thursday.

Hargreaves’ intimate knowledge of the business, as well as owning the company that provides Matalan’s IT platform, which could be withdrawn if his bid is unsuccessful, may lead the auction resulting in his favour.

Matalan expects to make underlying earnings of £30 million this year and £114 million by 2026. It is reported that the successful bidder will be selected and announced in the coming weeks.

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