All Hands On Deck For £175m Dobbies Tender

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 1:27 PM

Goldman Sachs has been drafted in to aid Guy Hands&#thirty-nine; tender to create the UK's largest garden centre operator, Sky News learns.

All Hands On Deck For £175m Dobbies Tender

The private equity tycoon Guy Hands is plotting a £175m takeover of Dobbies Garden Centres in an attempt to create an industry giant that'd dwarf its nearest rival.

Sky News has learnt that Wyevale, which is owned by Mister Hands' Terra Firma Capital Partners, has in recent days tabled a tender for Dobbies, which has been keep up for sale by Tesco.

Sources said that Goldman Sachs, the Wall Str bank, has been drafted in to assist Wyevale'south bid, which would set up a grouping with about one hundred seventy-five sites across Britain - roughly six times the size of the next-biggest operator.

Tesco has set a deadline of this Wednesday for initial offers for Dobbies, which made a loss of nearly £50m last year.

Many of Dobbies' outlets are attached to Tesco stores, but the gardening chain has been keep up for sale by the supermarket'south boss as portion of a clearout of non-core assets.

A successful tender by Wyevale for Dobbies could invite scrutiny from contest regulators and prompt the disposal of a no of stores, according to industry insiders.

While there is financial logic to a Dobbies takeover by an existing industry player, it could also lift questions about the future of the company'south Midlothian head office.

Several private equity firms are also said to be preparing bids ahead of Wednesday's deadline.

Wyevale'south tender follows a no of previous attempts by Mister Hands to purchase Dobbies in recent years.

Justin King, the former Sainsbury'south boss who presently runs Terra Firma'south portfolio, recently recruited Roger McLaughlan, a former Asda and Toys 'R' Us' executive, to run GCG.

His appointment keep an finish to speculation that Terra Firma was preparing for an imminent auction of Wyevale, which reports have suggested could command a £700m price tag.

Wyevale was acquired by Terra Firma to enable it exploit consumer trends which indicate that nearly half of British adults partake in gardening, a figure which rises to nearly two-thirds of those aged forty-five and above.

Terra Firma, which also owns Odeon and UCI Cinemas and the care residence chain Four Seasons Health Care, declined to comment on Tuesday.

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