Entrepreneur swoops in to bid for 180 Comet stores

Kasmira Jefford
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BUSINESS angel and entrepreneur Clive Coombes has emerged as a surprise bidder for around 180 Comet stores.

Comet’s administrator Deloitte confirmed yesterday it is in talks with 43-year-old Coombes over a bid for the crisis-hit electronics retailer but said it was too early to say if it would result in a sale.

The little-known entrepreneur is a consultant at CC Business Angels, a Southampton-based turnaround specialist that offers investment and buyout services.

He is thought to be using another private vehicle named Meridian Wholesale to front the bid, which if successful could offer a ray of hope to Comet’s remaining 5,500 staff.

Deloitte is weighing up a number of offers, including a bid by Appliances Online, the online retailer owned by DRL, for Comet’s website and brand, although this would be unlikely to save any jobs.

Dixons Retail and TK Maxx are among the retailers understood to be looking to buy a handful of Comet’s stores.

The retailer collapsed into administration less than a year after it was acquired by Henry Jackson’s private investment firm OpCapita, putting 6,611 jobs at risk.

Deloitte has already made 1,000 staff redundant and announced the closure of 41 of Comet’s 236 stores, threatening a further 900 jobs.

The firm also started cutting prices on goods in stores earlier this month in a bid to salvage value.