UK Retailer Matalan Calls Off Sale Process

LONDON (Reuters) – British budget fashion retailer Matalan has abandoned a process that could have seen founder and owner John Hargreaves sell the business.

Matalan said in a statement it had closed down the potential sale process for the business, without giving a reason.

However, a source close to the sale discussions said offers that came in were not high enough to tempt Hargreaves, who took the firm private for 817 million pounds ($1.28 billion) in 2006.

Private equity houses including CVC, TPG and Advent International all registered an interest in making a bid for Matalan last year, sources familiar with the process have said.

However, they baulked at an asking price of around 1.5 billion pounds, according to media reports.

Matalan brought in Goldman Sachs (GS.N) in December to run the sale process alongside PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Last month the firm, which runs 205 stores mostly outside town centres, posted strong trading for the Christmas period. 

(Reporting by James Davey, editing by Paul Hoskins)