Oct 26, 2009
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Matalan considers bid approaches

Oct 26, 2009

Matalan, autumn 2009 - Photo: www.matalan.co.uk

LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - UK retailer Matalan [MTLAN.UL] has received bid approaches for the business, people familiar with the process said, as private equity firms eye opportunities to invest in resilient retail companies.

The budget fashion and homewares retailer, owned by founder John Hargreaves, received an approach from CVC (CVC.AX) and has held an initial meeting with the European private equity group, the sources said.

Matalan and CVC declined to comment.

Matalan, which gained market share from rivals and had revenues of 1.04 billion pounds ($1.70 billion) in the year to end February, has been valued at 1.5 billion pounds in press reports.

Despite tough debt markets, buyout firms have been eyeing consumer and retail businesses as they look to put money to work in safe and lucrative investments.

Private equity firm Bridgepoint is currently considering a sale or initial public offering of pet goods chain Pets at Home and has seen interest from a clutch of rival buyout houses, including Apax, TPG [TPG.UL], Cinven [CINV.UL] and Bain, sources said.

Matalan has not kicked off a formal process but has seen interest from other parties, one of the sources said.

U.S. buyout firm TPG is one party interested in taking a closer look at the business, one source said.

Earlier this month, CVC agreed to buy brewer AB InBev's Central and Eastern European assets in deal worth up to $3.03 billion, after making an unsolicited approach.

CVC retains an interest in department store chain Debenhams (DEB.L) which it floated in 2006 and jointly owns Spanish clothing retailer Cortefiel [CRTFL.UL] alongside Permira [PERM.UL] and PAI Partners.

($1=.6119 Pound) (additional reporting by James Davey; Editing by David Cowell)

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