Former Comet owner joins race to buy £400m Matalanbusiness news

Among the suitors vying for control of price-based retailer Matarang is the former owner of the controversial former electric chain Comet.

Sky News understands that OpCapita, led by Henry Jackson, is expected to submit an indicative offer to acquire Matalan by the deadline for tenders on Friday.

Ten years ago, when OpCapita briefly owned Comet and watched it fall apart, it recovered tens of millions of pounds even though taxpayers had £70 million in bills. garnered criticism.

It has since shown interest in acquiring UK retailers such as Homebase and Majestic Wines, but currently its only UK-based investment is The Football Pools.

Interest in Matalan has come from rivals including Alteri, backed by Apollo Global Management, and Matalan founder John Hargreaves, who is expected to be backed by feared activist investor Elliott Advisors. Competing with investment firms.

Mike AshleyFrasers Group tycoon is also reportedly preparing an offer for Matalan.

Founded by Mr Hargreaves in 1985, Matalan faces a deadline to refinance £350m of debt next year.

It also received a £60m loan from Bantry Bay, in which Elliott owns shares. This is because it sought to strengthen its balance sheet before a prolonged slump in consumer sentiment threatened.

Based in Liverpool, Matalan employs over 11,000 people and trades in 230 stores in the UK.

It also operates an e-commerce platform and has over 50 franchised stores overseas.

The company claims to have 11 million customers.

Like many of its peers, the chain has found its finances severely strained by the pandemic and has urged Monaco-based Hargreaves to provide substantial financial support.

In recent months, global inflationary pressures have eroded margins and supply chain challenges have impacted inventory availability.

Over the summer, Matalan warned that “the ability to successfully refinance debt involves geopolitical, economic and market factors beyond the direct control of the business.”

Hargreaves recently stepped down to participate in the tender process after briefly returning as chairman of Matalan.

The Hargreaves family was advised by Lazard, with Teneo handling the sale and Perera Weinberg Partners advising the first-tier lender.

OpCapita declined to comment. Former Comet owner joins race to buy £400m Matalanbusiness news

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