Mother­care steps up search for res­cue deal

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Front page - By Ben Woods

HIGH STREET strug­gler Mother­care is seek­ing out­side fi­nanc­ing as it races to seal a res­cue pack­age by the mid­dle of May.

The trou­bled chain has been work­ing with in­vest­ment bank Roth­schild to ex­plore al­ter­na­tive fi­nanc­ing op­tions be­yond its cur­rent lenders, The Sun­day

Tele­graph un­der­stands. Ac­coun­tancy giant KPMG is han­dling sep­a­rate dis­cus­sions with HSBC and Bar­clays over Mother­care’s ex­ist­ing debt. The re­tailer, which wants to have new fund­ing in place by its ful­lyear re­sults on May 17, has said talks with lenders have been “con­struc­tive”.

It comes as turn­around firm Al­teri joins the string of po­ten­tial bid­ders cir­cling DIY chain Home­base, ac­cord­ing to sources. The re­tailer’s Aus­tralian own­ers is un­der­stood to be ex­plor­ing a po­ten­tial escape from its ill-fated £340m takeover two years ago.

Pri­vate eq­uity firms Hilco and End­less are also mulling a swoop for the un­der-fire re­tailer, which suf­fered a tough start to the year as the UK’S cold snap pum­melled sales. Rev­enue slumped 13.5pc to £211m dur­ing the first three months of 2018, with like­for-like sales drop­ping 15.4pc.

Wes­farm­ers have been at­tempt­ing to re­name stores to the well-known Aus­tralian brand of Bun­nings as part of an over­haul strat­egy. How­ever, only 23 of the 250 Home­base stores have been changed so far.

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