Bids on the table for Courts as administrator seeks quick sale

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Courts' administrators are confident that the furniture retailer will be sold off within a fortnight after receiving more than 60 approaches.

Courts' administrators are confident that the furniture retailer will be sold off within a fortnight after receiving more than 60 approaches.

KPMG has sent out around 40 buyer's packs since it was appointed on Wednesday and is privately predicting a sale will be wrapped up before Christmas.

Potential purchasers are understood to include Scottish entrepreneur Tom Hunter, private equity house Cinven and Martin Toogood, the former B&Q boss who is owner of Danish furniture chain Ilva.

Other names thought to have entered the fray include the Wal-Mart-owned Asda - which could use the sites to roll out its stand-alone clothing and homeware stores - and Swedish giant Ikea.

Even Allan Leighton, the serial director and former Asda boss, has been linked with the chain - despite also being touted as a potential buyer, with others, of the ailing supermarket group J Sainsbury.

KPMG declined to discuss timing. However, an insider said a deal to sell the UK retail business was likely to be struck either "this week or the week after that. We've had a lot of interest and a couple of approaches have already been fairly much firmed up."

Shares in Courts were suspended on Monday after the administrators were called in for its UK business. Its overseas interests, in Asia and the Caribbean, have not been put into administration.

A new management team, lead by chairman Leo McKee, has been striving to overhaul the UK business in recent months by cutting inventory levels and revamping the product range. But it warned in October that full-year losses would be "significantly" greater than forecast.

The insider conceded KPMG wanted to sell the business speedily to calm public fears. It also wants to secure a deal before Christmas to get the best possible price. No price has been attached to the business, which had a market value of £8.3m when it was suspended.

Comments