Endless linked with high street retailer takeover

Private equity house Endless has been identified as the prospective new owners of a struggling high street retail group which counts Warehouse, Coast and Oasis amongst its brands.

The Telegraph reported yesterday that both Endless was amongst bidders for the Mosaic group, along with Alteri Investors.

The retail group was formed by Icelandic retail consortium and investment vehicle Baugur which, at its height, held major stakes in House of Fraser, toy retailer Hamleys and Iceland Foods.

It filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and ownership of Mosaic later transferred to the administrators of failed bank Kaupthing after it was taken over by the Icelandic government.

Karen Millen, headed by former Bonmarche chief executive Beth Butterwick, is also said to be up for sale.

With several thousand staff, a turnaround specialist acquiring it may indicate job losses and branch cuts in the future in attempt to save the ailing brands, following the high-profile administrations of BHS, Austin Reed and most recently Jaeger.

Tough high street trading conditions have been blamed, which have been compounded by a move to online shopping and rises in rents and business rates bills.

Telegraph sources said the new owners would be looking to cut loss-making stores and some bidders are looking at breaking up the brands.

Endless has been contacted for comment. PwC are said to be fielding bids.