Poundland founder Steve Smith is in talks with Deloitte over a bid for rival Poundworld, as the chain's own founder confirms he is out of the running.
Smith, who sold Poundland to Advent International in 2002, is in the early stages of talks with administrators Deloitte about a possible rescue deal according to the Press Association.
Poundworld founder Chris Edwards confirmed today he is out of the running to save the chain, after talks with the administrators broke down.
Edwards had proposed a plan to save 186 stores and 3,000 jobs, but he said today it had been rejected as not high enough.
“I’ve made a substantial and credible offer, which is the best offer we can put forward, but in my opinion, it hasn’t been given the respect it deserves," he said in a statement.
He warned that he now expects the business to close, rather than securing a rescue deal.
"The administrator has informed us they are working in the best interests of creditors, and I still say it will be interesting to see how much cash is left after the administrator’s fees and wages, especially because their fee is increasing with each day that passes," he added.
Poundworld's administrator Deloitte has been contacted for comment.
It comes a few days after Edwards, who set up the business in 1974, warned it had just days left to be rescued.
If Poundworld closes it could add even more job losses and store closures in a year that is already being labelled the worst for the high street since the financial crisis.