BBC dragon eyes up Woolworths

According to the Beeb, none other than Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis may be about to say, "I'm in" and save the floundering retailer, Woolworths.

Deloitte, which was appointed Woolworths' administrator on 26 November, said there had been "substantial interest" in the firm, and Mr Paphitis is claimed to be amongst those bidding.

He is allegedly "working on a plan to rescue some of the chain's most profitable stores and preserve the Woolworths brand.", says the BBC.

Amongst the 10 bidders is also Ardeshir Naghshineh, Woolworths' largest shareholder, who is a property developer and owner of London's Centrepoint building.

However, says the BBC in its report, it is unlikely that any one buyer will take control of the entire business, nor is it likely that a deal will be made any time soon.

Paphitis made his money by reviving the fortunes of several companies, including stationers Ryman and Partners and the La Senza lingerie chain.

Woolworths has 30,000 staff, 815 stores and four distribution centres, and also owns Entertainment UK, which distributes DVDs to supermarket groups and retailers including Zavvi. The latter has today suspended its online sales of DVDs, games and CDs because of Woolworths' position.

However, Entertainment UK may be rescued by a BBC buy-out, as the corporation already owns a share in this business.


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