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Theo Paphitis expected to acquire Robert Dyas

Theo Paphitis, the owner of stationery retailer Ryman, is poised to acquire the hardware chain Robert Dyas for up to £10 million, the Evening Standard has learned.

The star of the BBC series Dragons’ Den is in advanced talks about purchasing the 100-store chain and a deal that could be unveiled over the coming days.

Robert Dyas has been majority-owned by its lenders since a debt-for-equity swap with Lloyds Banking Group and Allied Irish Bank in 2009.

Lloyds, the biggest shareholder with a 40% stake, put the ironmonger up for sale this year by hiring advisers at Cavendish Corporate Finance, which declined to comment. Wilkinson was the other main contender that examined acquiring Robert Dyas. But it pulled out of the bidding process last month.

The price tag of up to £10 million that Paphitis wants to pay for Robert Dyas includes some of the chain’s debt with Lloyds and AIB. It is understood Paphitis will take on the pension liabilities of Robert Dyas, which posted underlying profits of £3 million in 2011.

A Lloyds spokesman said: “We continue to remain supportive of the company and we are focused on ensuring the success of the current sale process.”

In addition to controlling Ryman, Paphitis owns lingerie chain Boux Avenue.

Source : James Thompson – Evening Standard

06 July 2012
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