The buyout house picked up the company from Barclays Private Equity for £111m in 2004, and leveraged the deal by placing £75m of debt on Hobbs’ books.
3i has already appointed PriceWaterhouseCoopers to advise on its potential expansion plans for Hobbs, but will also look into the sale process according to company chairman Iain MacRitchie.
He told the UK’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper that he was keen to expand Hobbs’ sales and retail space abroad and over the internet.
Successful trading has meant that Hobbs has managed to pay down its debt since being bought out by 3i, and now has a £32m borrowing facility.
3i currently controls about 70 per cent of the company after investing another £14m last year.
In February it emerged 3i has appointed financial services major UBS to conduct a strategic review of Enterprise, the ailing park maintenance company it bought at the height of the buy-out boom.
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