Private equity firm 3i and Hobbs’ management are said to have been actively searching for investors and, according to British media, are soon to appoint advisers from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The investment firm also owns Agent Provocateur.
As reported by ‘The Telegraph’ on Sunday, sources said PwC has indicated to Hobbs (which encloses labels as the eponymous Hobbs, NW3 and Hobbs Invitation) that any takeover could value the business at between £200m and £250m.
Iain MacRitchie, chairman of Hobbs, told 'The Sunday Telegraph' that PwC has been primarily mandated to advise the retailer on its expansion plans over the next two years. MacRitchie said: “PwC are devoting considerable resource to help us develop our online capabilities, supply chain and introduce us to international trading partners.”
3i bought Hobbs in 2004 for £111m from former Barclays Private Equity, now Equistone, and put circa £75m of debt on the company’s balance sheet to finance the transaction. In 8 years, Hobbs has been able to repay the debt, reminded 'Bloomberg'. Last year, 3i invested a further £14m in Hobbs, taking the private equity firm’s stake in the retailer up to 70%.