DFS Chairman: Company Is Not For Sale

LONDON (Reuters) – Lord Kirkham has said DFS, the British sofa chain he founded in 1969, is not for sale, despite reports that three private equity groups submitted bids or reaffirmed interest in the chain last week.

“I am categorically not interested in selling the business,” Kirkham told The Sunday Times. “I don’t need the money. I’m loaded.”

Kirkham denied his comments were a tactic to extract a higher price for the 79-store business.

DFS said in January it had hired advisers to explore options, including a possible stock market listing or third-party investment, which generated private-equity interest.

But a person familiar with the matter said in February that Kirkham could yet opt to keep the business and perhaps refinance it himself.

The Financial Times on Saturday said Cinven [CINV.UL] and Advent International had emerged as the frontrunners in the 500 million pound auction, ahead of Permira [PERM.UL], citing several people familiar with the auction process.

DFS was not available for comment. (Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by Will Waterman)