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Buyout giant TPG in talks to wash hands of Victoria Plum

December 13, 2018 11:04 AM
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TPG, which bought Victoria Plum in 2014, has been holding talks about merging it with Bathstore, Sky News learns.

Sky News has learnt that TPG has been exploring a merger of Victoria Plum, which it bought in 2014, with Bathstore, the high street chain which trades from more than 150 stores across the country.

Sources said the talks between TPG and Bathstore had been taking place for some time but that they had appeared to stall in recent weeks and might not lead to a deal.

Under the plans being discussed, TPG would cede control of Victoria Plum to Bathstore's American owners, according to one insider.

The talks come after a difficult year for the European operations of TPG, which through its various platforms is an investor in companies such as Cirque du Soleil, Spotify and J Crew, the fashion label.

In March, TPG was forced into a restructuring of Prezzo, the casual dining chain it controls, following a steep downturn in the market.

TPG also owned Poundworld, the value retailer which plunged into administration during the summer.

The buyout firm had bought it for £150m, and subsequently ploughed tens of millions of pounds more into the business.

TPG's efforts to offload Victoria Plum, which previously traded under the virtually identical name Victoria Plumb, come amid expectations of a difficult Christmas trading period across the retail sector.

The latest accounts for the company filed at Companies House showed a 9% rise in turnover to £63m in the year to 28 February, with a £0.2m operating profit following a £5.7m loss during the previous 12 months.

Bathstore has changed hands between private equity owners on several occasions, and is now owned by a US-based family investment vehicle.

TPG declined to comment, while Bathstore did not return calls seeking comment.


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