Overseas suitors are circling BHS in an effort to tempt retail tycoon Sir Philip Green into parting with the department store chain.
Leading the list of potential bidders is Christo Wiese, South Africa’s third richest man with a fortune estimated at around £2 billion. Others thought to be interested include US private equity firm Apollo and a number of retail turnaround firms, according to reports.
Green, whose empire also includes Topshop and Topman, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, bought BHS for £200 million in 1999. The chain has been weighed down by expensive leases and a pension fund deficit but is still a strong force on the high street with 180 stores and annual sales of £700m.
Wiese is believed to have put BHS at the top of his list of potential UK retail targets. He previously owned Brown & Jackson, which was the home for budget names such as Poundstretcher.