Iceland lines up offer for Bhs

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The Independent Online

Iceland, the frozen food retailer, is one of the potential bidders for Bhs, the struggling high street chain which is part of the Storehouse group.

Iceland, the frozen food retailer, is one of the potential bidders for Bhs, the struggling high street chain which is part of the Storehouse group.

Storehouse issued a statement on Friday saying it had received approaches for the whole of the group as well as separate offers for both Bhs and Mothercare.

Iceland is thought to be facing competition from venture capital buyers and overseas retailers for the Bhs business, which comprises 161 stores. Iceland declined to comment yesterday but did not deny the possibility of an offer.

Iceland, which has around 800 stores, last month linked up with Bhs to open convenience stores in 100 branches of Bhs nationwide.

There is a change of control clause in the contract under which Iceland could be eligible for compensation in the event of a takeover. However, Iceland may prefer to defend itself against the possibility of a rival food retailer taking control of the best Bhs stores. Analysts estimate Bhs could be worth £125m.

Iceland demonstrated its eagerness to increase its high street presence four years ago when it launched a joint bid for the Littlewoods high street business with N Brown.

One possible bidder for the whole of Storehouse is thought to be a consortium of individuals. Littlewoods has alreadysaid it would be interested in buying 30-50 of the Bhs stores. Storehouse shares closed unchanged at 44.5p, valuing the group at £189m.

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