Barclay brothers put Littlewoods and Very owner Shop Direct up for sale

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 | BUSINESS SALE

British businessmen the Barclay brothers are hoping to make £3 billion from the sale of Shop Direct, the retail group that counts Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com among its brand roster.

The identical twins, who also own the Daily Telegraph and the Ritz, are poised to cash in on record festive trading at the group by offloading a significant stake in the business.

Sky News reported that the brothers have appointed UBS to manage the Shop Direct sale process. A clutch of private equity firms including Advent International, Bain Capital, BC Partners‎, Cinven, CVC Capital Partners and Permira are said to be interested.

Shop Direct enjoyed a bumper 2016 Christmas sales period, posting a nine per cent rise in sales during the seven weeks to 23 December amid growing demand for ‘fast fashion’ and the rise of ecommerce.

Sky said insiders said that talks between Shop Direct management and interested parties could lead to the sale of part or all of Shop Direct. The brothers are reported to be keen to secure £3 billion-plus from a sale of the firm.

However, it is thought that some of the potential buyers are concerned about the value of Shop Direct’s financial services arm, which helps consumers fund purchases using credit.

Shop Direct’s other brands include premium fashion firm VeryExclusive and children’s clothing brand Ladybird.

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