Investment fund explores sale of specialist bathrooms retailer Bathstore

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Jan 24, 2014 07:15 AM EST

A popular high street chain in the UK is set to change owners as specialist bathroom retailer Bathstore is due to be placed on the auction block, Sky News reported. Investment fund Endless is reportedly exploring a sale of the firm which has more than 150 branches all over the country. Endless bought Bathstore in May 2012, the report said.

The investment bank Rothschild has been hired to scout for interest from possible acquirers, the report said.

Although there was no mention of a price tag for retailer, the investment fund bought Bathstore from plumbing group Wolseley in a deal worth £15 million. Wolseley, a member of the FTSE-100, had been trying to convince the City of its financial performance and sold the retailer after deciding that it was a non-core asset, the report said.

In 2011, Bathstore which holds headquarters in Watford posted a profit of £6.5 million on sales of £95 million. This was considered reasonable since at that time, the UK economy was quite sluggish, the report said.

The report quoted an Endless spokesman as saying in a statement, "We are pleased with the performance of Bathstore since we made our investment in May 2012. There has been encouraging inbound interest in the business and we continue to work with management to support its growth."

The report said that it is not very likely that Endless will consider stock market listing for Bathstore but would rather go for a private sale.

Should a private sale happen, it would make Bathstore a rarity since flotations are usually considered by a lot of high street shop owners in a bid to capitalize on the strong equity markets and an improving UK economy. Other private equity-backed retailers that are seeking to go public in 2014 include Fat Face, House of Fraser, Pets At Home and Poundland, the report said.

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