The business magnate twins that own the Daily Telegraph have put their online retail clothing firm up for sale, according to reports.
The Barclay brothers have sounded out a number of private equity firms about the sale of Shop Direct, which owns the Very and Littlewoods brands, putting a £3bn price tag on the business, Sky News reported.
It is understood that Advent International, Bain Capital, BC Partners, Cinven, CVC Capital Partners and Permira will meet with Shop Direct management in the weeks to come, with UBS mandated to oversee the sales process.
The firm's owners are looking to capitalise on positive Christmas trading figures that included a nine per cent growth in sales.
The £3bn valuation is the enterprise value ascribed to the firm and includes £1bn of debt, making the Barclay shareholding worth £2bn.
The twins bought the Littlewoods business for £750m in 2002. In recent years it has exited its high street presence and finally closed its catalogue business in 2015.
Littlewoods has received nearly £500m from the taxman in VAT refunds and the Supreme Court is due to rule this summer on whether HM Revenue & Customs will have to fork out hundreds of millions more for compound interest on the VAT rebates.
Shop Direct and the private equity firms declined to comment in response to requests from Sky News.