Ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy's investment firm eyes New Look bid with China's CDH

Lynsey Barber
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Summer sale for New Look?

The investment firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), which names supermarket supremo Sir Terry Leahy among its advisers, is assembling a bid for high street fashion chain New Look, according to reports.

The private equity firm, which former Tesco boss Leahy joined in 2011, has held talks with Chinese group CDH to mount a bid for the retailer, which could be worth up to £2bn, Sky News reports.

The fashion chain, which is currently owned by private equity firms Apax and Permira as well as founder Tom Singh, hired JP Morgan in February to work on a potential float of the company - its second attempt in recent years after investors balked at its levels of debt in 2010.

It was revealed its backers were mulling plans to offload the chain, with potential interest from a host of Chinese firms last month, including Thomas Cook backer Fosun and Citic Capital as well as CDH.

CD&R and CDH are now said to be in talks over a potential joint bid, according to the report.

China is one of New Look’s key markets, with about 18 stores. It also sells clothing through Alibaba’s popular Tmall website, which has about 180m buyers.

New Look boss Anders Kristiansen also has vast experience in the Chinese consumer market, having established 5,500 Bestseller Fashion Group stores in the country as chief executive of the Danish fashion group.

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