Sears disposal

N Brown, the Manchester mail-order firm headed by Sir David Alliance, is this week expected to be confirmed as the buyer for Freemans, the catalogue division of Sears.

On Friday, Sears announced that it had received approaches from a number of parties' after its proposed sale to Little- woods was referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in January.

The price is believed to be slightly less than the pounds 395m asked by Sears, but carries the prospect of a quick sale without a Monopolies reference.

The offer is still subject to contract and due diligence and will not be completed for at least three months.

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