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Bill Archer to buy back Focus?

The man responsible for building Focus DIY from a handful of stores to the third largest DIY retailer in the UK, is understood to be considering a deal to buy back the company, which is now struggling under £280m of debt.

Bill Archer has held talks with Cerberus Capital Management, a private investment group, about forming a consortium to purchase Focus.

Sources within Focus said that plans were at a preliminary stage, and that there was no certainty that a deal would proceed.

In recent weeks, the Uk's third largest DIY chain has appointed NM Rothschild to complete a full strategic review of the business, and preliminary financial information is expected to be sent out to interested parties this week. It is speculated. that this may include the Irish DIY Giant The Grafton Group.

One city source stated that Focus could fetch as much as £250m, including the debt. It is understood that Rothschild intend to establish who the key interested parties are by the end of February, and any deal would be contingent on gaining the agreement of the company's leading debt providers and bond holders.

28 January 2007
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