New owners for distressed BHS set to be unveiled by Duff & Phelps

THE WAITING game over who will buy struggling retailer BHS looks set to be concluded.

Administrators Duff & Phelps are sifting through a number of strong potential bids as it attempts to secure a buyer for all 164 BHS stores, as it strives to save the jobs of as many of the 11,000 strong workforce as possible.

Key among the pack leaders are John Hargreaves, founder of Matalan alongside Cafer Mahiroglu, the owner of Select Retail.

Two other prospective buyers are Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Peacocks clothing retailer owner Philip Day, and Mike Ashley of Sports Direct and owner of Newcastle United Football Club.

Both Hargreaves, who founded Matalan in 1985, and Mahiroglu, the owner of Select Retail, are believed to be circling BHS with their own money rather than their companies.

Under-fire billionaire Philip Green sold BHS to Retail Acquisitions – led by Dominic Chappell, a former bankrupt and racing driver – for £1, when it was saddled with debts over £1bn in debts and a massive pension deficit.

An announcement as to the new buyer’s identity is expected at the earliest by Friday and possibly over the weekend.

BHS auditors PwC are set to be called up in front of MPs as part of the ongoing probe into the collapse of the retail chain.

The firm is set to be joined by fellow Big Four outfit Deloitte as well as several other professional services firms, including Linklaters, Nabarro and Goldman Sachs.

Meanwhile, accounting watchdog the FRC has come under pressure to launch an investigation into the directors and advisers involved in the sale of BHS to Retail Acquisitions in 2015.

In a letter to FRC chief executive Stephen Haddrill, Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) select committee member Richard Fuller urged the FRC to investigate those involved with the transaction shortly before the retail chain collapsed into administration.

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