The private equity majors, who acquired their stakes in the UK fashion group in a public-to-private buyout deal in 2004, have been seeking an exit since at least 2010.
At that point plans for a new market listing were put on hold amid the chaos of the global financial crisis.
Both firms are now looking for investors to buy a minority or majority stake, according to sources close to the situation cited by Bloomberg.
Spokesmen for both firms did not return calls seeking comment by deadline on Thursday.
It was unclear at deadline on Thursday whether the firms’ goal was to find investors to buy out their own stakes, or to remain invested in New Look alongside new backers.
Apax’s recent deals include its $2.85bn exit from Orange Switzerland, and its plan to buy Nordic IT company EVRY via its portfolio company Lyngen Bidco.
Permira’s recent deals include its €500m exit from fashion German brand Hugo Boss, and its purchase of South African IT company Teraco Data Environments.
Weymouth, England-based New Look controls over 800 retail outlets in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia.
It refinanced $1.2bn of debt in 2013 and raised additional funds for use in its expansion in China.
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