Bond­hold­ers mull Bright­house of­fer

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Lucy Bur­ton

BRI­TAIN’S largest rent-to-own re­tailer Bright­house could soon be part­ing from its pri­vate eq­uity owner as a con­sor­tium of bond­hold­ers gets closer to tabling a deal.

The chain, which rents out house­hold items such as fridges and vac­uum clean­ers through its 280 shops, is un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure to re­fi­nance £220m of bonds that are due next year.

It ex­pected to kick off a for­mal sales process this month. How­ever, The Sun­day Tele­graph un­der­stands that a con­sor­tium of bond­hold­ers is pre­par­ing to pro­pose a debt-for-eq­uity swap in the com­ing weeks. The plan could squeeze out its pri­vate eq­uity owner Vi­sion Cap­i­tal, which bought the group 10 years ago as part of a wider deal worth around £250m.

Re­cent rule changes to the hire-pur­chase sec­tor have had a ma­jor im­pact on Bright­house, mainly be­cause it has had to turn away po­ten­tial cus­tomers for hav­ing poor credit his­to­ries.

Earn­ings crashed 79pc to £11.7m in the year to March, although Hamish Pa­ton, the chief ex­ec­u­tive, said last month that the group was “mak­ing progress in re­turn­ing the busi­ness to growth”.

Bright­house did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment at the time of writ­ing.

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