By  on July 5, 2007

LONDON — British retailer New Look has been taken off the block after its owners, private equity groups Apax Partners and Permira, failed to achieve the 1.8 billion pound, or $3.7 billion at current exchange, price tag they had put on the fast-fashion chain.

"The shareholders and management had a view of what they thought was a fair price, and they were not desperate to sell for bids below that value," said a spokesman for New Look.

Texas Pacific Group and Warburg Pincus had joined forces to bid for the business, and other parties believed to be interested included The Blackstone Group and CVC Capital Partners. One industry source said the initial price tag of $4 billion that Merrill Lynch, which was handling the sale, had placed on the chain had overvalued New Look.

"It's too early to speculate when the current shareholders may look to exit the business," said the spokesman, who added that current "macroeconomic" factors, such as the uncertainty of the U.S. credit market after the subprime lending crisis and rising interest rates, may have kept bids from reaching the company's target.

The spokesman said the end of the auction process would not impact New Look's business, and that the company would continue with its expansion into the Middle East and India with franchise partner Landmark Group and its trials of New Look stores in France and Belgium.

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