Financial News

  • 30 May 2014, 16:10

Leahy Firm Eyes 300m Cotswold Outdoor Deal

The private equity group where the ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy is a partner is weighing up a 300m-plus takeover of Cotswold Outdoor, the camping accessories chain.

Sky News understands that Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CDR) is among a number of bidders which this week tabled provisional offers for AS Adventure Group, a Belgian-based retailer which also operates in the UK and the Netherlands.

The business is owned by Lion Capital, another buyout firm, which has owned AS Adventure since the beginning of 2008.

CDR's involvement in the auction raises the prospect of Sir Terry becoming involved in another leading UK retailer following his departure from Tesco more than three years ago.

He is the chairman of B&M Retail, a discount chain which is poised to defy emerging fatigue among some public market investors by attracting a bumper valuation when its shares start trading on the London Stock Exchange in the coming weeks.

Sir Terry is not the only prominent retail executive interested in AS Adventure.

It is thought that Mike Ashley, the Sports Direct tycoon, has also lodged an informal interest in the business although it was unclear on Friday whether the company would make a formal offer.

Waterland, Dutch private equity firm, is also rumoured to be interested.

AS Adventure employs more than 1,800 people, and in 2012 generated over ?335m (270m) of sales.

Cotswold Outdoor was founded in 1974 as Cotswold Camping, and now specialises in selling clothing and accessories to campers, skiers, kayakers and other consumers interested in outdoor pursuits.

It operates from more than 60 stores but was hit in the wake of the collapse of rival Blacks in 2011 by a move towards heavier discounting in the sector.

Sports Direct, CDR and Lion Capital all declined to comment.

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