Asprey, the luxury goods retailer that bought 6.8 per cent of Mallett on Monday, is likely to be behind the approach. However, Mallett's finance director, Peter Dixon, refused to confirm Asprey's involvement. He also declined to say whether the approach was considered friendly or hostile.
Asprey has been spending freely on acquisitions. In July 1990 it bought the Mappin & Webb jewellers for pounds 75m. It also owns Watches of Switzerland and Garrard's.
Naim Attallah, chief executive of Asprey, said: 'We have taken the 6.8 per cent stake for investment purposes. We are always interested in companies that have complementary businesses to ours but there are no concrete plans with Mallett.'
Shares in Mallett jumped 19p yesterday to close at 73p. They peaked at 240p shortly after flotation in 1987 but sank to 24p after interim losses were announced last September.Reuse content