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Wilkinson launches bid for Robert Dyas

Discount chain Wilkinson has launched a bid for High Street ironmonger Robert Dyas.

The family-owned household goods specialist is one of four bidders left in the battle. It is facing competition from two other unknown trade buyers and one private equity firm.

At least one buyer is thought to be foreign. Another private equity company, Alchemy, has dropped out of the auction. Robert Dyas is expected to fetch £25million – about the level of its debts.

Financial Mail revealed earlier this year that the banks that own Robert Dyas were again inviting bids after putting the sale on ice last year.

Bidders submitted second-round offers last week. Wilkinson was launched in 1930 and is wholly owned by the family of founder James Wilkinson.

It had sales of almost £1.6billion in the year to the end of January 2011, with pre-tax profits of £61million.

Robert Dyas has been majority- owned by its lenders since 2009. Lloyds Banking Group and Allied Irish Bank took control after a debt-for-equity swap with then owner Change Capital. Wilkinson declined to comment.

Source: Alex Hawkes - This is

25 March 2012
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