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Permira Debenhams Bid Expected

LONDON — Permira, the U.K.-based venture capital group, could make a formal bid for the U.K. department store chain, Debenhams, today or Tuesday, sources said last week. <br><br>A spokeswoman for Permira declined to comment. There were press...

LONDON — Permira, the U.K.-based venture capital group, could make a formal bid for the U.K. department store chain, Debenhams, today or Tuesday, sources said last week.

This story first appeared in the July 28, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A spokeswoman for Permira declined to comment. There were press reports that Permira already had made a bid of $6.80 per share for the 362,114,467 shares, valuing the company at approximately $2.47 billion. However, the spokeswoman said, “if and when the company receives an offer, the directors will consider it.” Dollar figures have been converted from the British pound at current exchange.

As reported, Permira in May disclosed it was considering a $2.4 billion bid for Debenhams. Permira has been working closely with Belinda Earl, Debenhams chief executive officer, and her team, on a management buyout.

Last week, Debenhams confirmed that the Texas Pacific Group and CVC Capital Partners had joined forces for a possible bid. A spokesman for the group declined to comment on the progress of the discussions with Debenhams, though sources said the partners are still undertaking due diligence.

The U.K.-based Debenhams has a total of 115 stores, including 90 in the U.K and Ireland. The other 25 are in Indonesia, Bahrain, Dubai, Reykjavik, Qatar, Budapest and Dublin. Debenhams, which employs approximately 22,000 people, was founded in 1778. Net revenues in 2002 were $2.72 billion and net profits were $175 million. In 2001, net revenues were $2.59 billion and net profits were $165 million.