Cinven ‘looking at Mothercare bid’

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A BREAK‑UP bid for the struggling retailer Mothercare is being seriously considered by private equity group Cinven, City sources say.

It is believed that Cinven has earmarked Paul Mason, chairman of homeware and fashion retailer Cath Kidston, to head up the operation.

Mason has worked with the private equity group before, including an unsuccessful attempt last year to buy the budget food chain Netto.

Sources say a Mothercare deal could see the baby goods chain’s British arm jettisoned in order to focus on a burgeoning overseas business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Several private equity houses are thought to be weighing up possible bids for Mothercare, although Cinven’s plans are the most advanced.

Mothercare has 352 shops in the UK employing 7,500 people, as well as more than 950 outlets overseas. It recently announced half-year losses of £81 million after UK like-for-like sales slumped 7 per cent.

It has announced it is cutting 110 UK stores and has said it will look to further adjust the size and shape of its business.