Sears denies reports of pounds 460m bid

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SEARS, the struggling retail group which includes the Miss Selfridge and Wallis chains of stores as well as the Freemans mail order business, yesterday denied reports that it had received a pounds 460m bid for the company. It described the suggestions as "entirely without foundation," adding that Sears "is not in any discussions with any party about a bid".

Sears, chaired by Sir Bob Reid (pictured), was forced to issue a statement after its shares rose sharply following reports that a venture capital group had made an approach for the company pitched at around 300p per share.

Analysts said a bid was possible for Sears, which spun off its Selfridges department store business in the summer. However, they said that, given the current fragility of high street trading, any potential bidders were likely to hold back until Sears provided an update on current trading. Sears shares closed 15 per cent higher yesterday at 233p.