Fashion chain Ted Baker has picked a preferred bidder as it presses ahead with sale plans, but revealed private equity suitor Sycamore has pulled out of the running.
The retailer, which has nearly 400 locations, said its chosen bidder would now go through the books as part of a so-called confirmatory due diligence process, which is set to take several weeks.
Ted Baker stressed there was still “no certainty that an offer will be made nor as to the terms on which any offer will be made”.
It did not give a reason for the decision by Sycamore Partners to bow out.
Ted Baker launched a formal sale process last month after Sycamore had made a series of approaches for the brand and following interest from a number of other interested buyers.
The third approach by Sycamore valued Ted Baker at around £254 million.
The company closed trading on Friday at 139.2p a share, valuing Ted Baker at around £257 million.
It represents a significant fall from the company’s peak, when it was valued at around £1.5 billion.
Ted Baker was among luxury retailers hammered by the pandemic, but it had also gone into Covid in a weak spot following years of decline and is in the middle of a plan to revamp the business.
Most notably, founder and chief executive Ray Kelvin stepped away from his position after accusations of inappropriate behaviour.
Mr Kelvin, who denies the allegations, is still a shareholder in the business, which he set up in 1988 in Glasgow.
Its shares have rallied this year on the bid interest and were up another 2% in morning trading on Monday.