Argos owner eyed up by private equity firms

The owner of high street brand names Argos and Homebase is being looked at by private equity firms weighing up takeover offers worth up to £1 billion.

Argos parent Home Retail Group has caught the eye of private equity firms. Picture: Jacky Ghossein

Shares in Home Retail Group (HRG) have halved since the start of 2015 amid tough trading conditions and a profit warning last month.

The City was jolted, marking the shares down a further 16 per cent in one day, as HRG chief executive John Walden repeated that this year’s key festive season for the company was “less predictable than usual”.

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He blamed retailers and customers both being uncertain whether to repeat last year’s Black Friday spending splurge the day after Thanksgiving Day in the US.

City sources say potential private equity buyers are attracted to HRG by £93 million of cash on its balance sheet and a customer loan book of £550m.

One big US player reported to be interested in HRG is Apollo Global Management, previously linked with another struggling retailer, music chain HMV.