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Major interest in Matalan sale

Despite taking the company private just three years ago, for a figure of £827 million of which £410 million was debt, John Hargreaves, the owner of the Matalan is on the verge of a massive return on his investment. The company is effectively up for sale at a price of £1.5 billion and the auction has attracted the interest of five potential private equity buyers in the shape of TPG, Blackstone, Warburg Pincus, BC Partners and Advent International all of which appear interested in acquiring the UK based company.

Like-for-like sales at Matalan increased by 8.2% in the first 14 weeks of the new financial year and the company recently reported full year operating profits of £102 million against £89.4 million in the same period last year. Many are rather surprised at the strength in depth which the Matalan operation is showing at the moment because when quoted on the UK stock market it was always treated with scepticism and cynicism.

When you also take into account the massive fallout in the UK retail sector over the last two years, John Hargreaves' ability to turn a £400 million investment into a potential £1.5 billion return is nothing short of breathtaking. However, there is still some way to go before the successful bidder is confirmed.

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