Buyers line up for Woolworths

Louise Jack

Theo PaphitisDragon's Den star Theo Paphitis is among a number of potential buyers lining up to buy troubled retailer Woolworths. It is understood that meetings have taken place between several interested parties and Woolworths' administrators, Deloitte.

The administrators, who were called in last week, are thought to have received interest from a number of potential buyers over the weekend, including Pahpitis, who has revived ailing retail chains Rymans and La Senza. He is thought to be interested in buying a number of Woolworths profitable stores.

Tesco and Waitrose are also thought to be among potential bidders and are believed to interested in buying some of Woolworths' high street outlets.

Woolworths largest shareholder, Ardeshir Naghshineh, is believed to be making plans to make a bid for the whole group including its CD and DVD distribution business and 2Entertain, a joint venture with the BBC.

It is also understood that Tony Page, who runs Woolworths' retail stores division is planning to mount a bid with other members of the management team from its retail division.

Deloitte is compiling a shortlist of bidders and says it is "business as usual" for Woolworths stores until a sale is arranged and that the chain’s 30,000 staff should keep their jobs until at least Christmas.

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