Cinven eyes Mothercare

Kasmira Jefford
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CINVEN, the private equity giant behind Pizza Express, is eyeing a potential takeover of Mothercare, the ailing baby products retailer.

The firm is understood to be in early stages of forming a potential offer and has yet to approach Mothercare’s board, which is being led by chairman Alan Parker after his appointment in August.

Last month Parker announced an “structural and operational” review of the chain’s troubled UK arm, as it revealed a £81m loss for the half-year, sending its already depleted share price tumbling.

The group, which is facing fierce competition from supermarkets and internet players, also saw the exit of its long-standing chief executive Ben Gordon last month after issuing a string of profit warnings.

Sources close to Cinven said the firm has not yet appointed advisers or lenders and that there could be no certainty of the company making an offer.

Other private equity firms including Montagu Private Equity and CVC have also been linked with Mothercare. However, CVC is thought to not be interested in making a bid.

Cinven is reported to be want to focus on Mothercare’s better performing overseas operations, which comprise of around 960 outlets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Mothercare, which also owns the Early Learning Centre, detailed plans in May to close 110 of its 353 UK stores.