New Look receives two offers

Warburg Pincus and Texas Pacific Group are understood to be keen to buy UK fashion retailer New Look from its private equity owners Apax and Permira.

An auction is expected to kick off in the next few weeks, which may see the store sold for up to £2bn (€3bn).

Apax and Permira, which own 60% of New Look, took the company private in 2004 for £700m.

A stock market flotation has been substantially played down, especially in light of the challenges facing retailers to grow their businesses in tough market conditions. Rents are high and so are wages.

However, Sports Direct, which owns Lillywhites, recently floated on the London Stock Exchange for £2.16bn at the top end of its forecast price range, and New Look has indeed grown itself into a successful UK fashion outlet.

It is likely that Apax and Permira did explore IPO opportunities with Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Citigroup before deciding instead on an auction.

If Permira and Apax get the £2bn price they are asking for, they could make £600m each for their respective 30% stakes in New Look. The retailer’s founder Tom Singh may receive just over £400m for his 21%, while the management team including chief executive Phil Wrigley stands to gain £300m.