Retail giant Next is in talks to snap up a major stake in London-listed fashion firm Joules, according to reports today.
The high street behemoth has been in negotiations for several weeks to take a stake of up to 25 per cent in struggling Joules, although the discussions were not yet certain to result in a deal, Sky News reported.
Joules, which has around 130 stores and a workforce of more than 1000, has been caught up in the inflationary pressures that are battering the retail sector, and last month called in KPMG in a bid to boost “profitability, cash generation and liquidity headroom”.
Its valuation has plunged more than 90 per cent in the past year, meaning a 25 per cent stake would currently cost Next in the region of £10m at its current valuation.
EY is reportedly advising Next on the deal.
The talks come amid a push from Next to diversify its business, having struck joint ventures with brands including Reiss and Victoria’s Secret, and recently agreeing a deal to take ownership of the baby products retailer JoJo Maman Bebe.
Next and Joules were contacted for comment.