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San Francisco private equity house in running to buy Shop Direct

Lauretta Roberts
19 June 2017

Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco-based private equity house, is reported to be one of the few bidders left in the running to acquire home shopping giant Shop Direct.

According to The Sunday Times, the £3bn price tag put on Shop Direct, which owns Littlewoods, and Very Exclusive, by owners the Barclay brothers has put off a number of bidders but H&F, which was founded in 1984 and formerly backed Formula One racing, is one of the few interested parties. Former New Look owner Apax Partners remains the front-runner to acquire the business and BC Partners is also believed to have lodged a bid.

It was recently revealed, however, that a number of potential bidders including Cinven, CVC Capital Partners and Permira had been put off by the price and by the business's reliance on revenue from its consumer credit arm. But it is understood that should the Barclay brothers, who also own The Telegraph and The Ritz hotel, revise the price they may re-enter the fray.

Shop Direct, which is run by CEO Alex Baldock, has sales of around £1.9bn and around 94% of its sales are on credit.

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