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Poundland founder Steve Smith mulls Poundworld bid

By Simon Penfold | Willenhall | Business | Published:

Poundland's founder Steven Smith is considering a return to the high street with a swoop on embattled retail rival Poundworld.

Steve Smith, founder of Poundland, is said to be mulling an offer for the struggling Poundworld chain

Mr Smith, the former Willenhall market trader who founded Poundland in 1990 with his father, is in early-stage talks about a bid to salvage part of Poundworld out of administration, say sources.

Poundworld fell into administration on June 11 and the retail chain has started closing down sales.

Deloitte last week turned down a bid for Poundworld from its founder Chris Edwards, who was looking to save a raft of stores and safeguard around 3,000 jobs.

Mr Smith, who now lives in a country mansion at Romsley near Kidderminster, sold Poundland to Advent International in 2002 and is now a retail consultant and speaker.

His son, Ashley Smith, launched Poundshop.com in a bid to replicate his father's success in the online arena.

Poundworld, which was formerly owned by private equity firm TPG Capital, has 335 stores and employs around 5,100 people.

Joint administrators Daniel Butters and Clare Boardman have already made 100 people redundant at Poundworld's head office in Normanton, West Yorkshire.

Deloitte is still in talks with a number of bidders in the hope of selling part of the business.

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As part of the process, Deloitte must first seek to sell the business as a going concern and, failing that, must achieve a better deal for creditors than they would secure by selling off Poundworld's property.

Mr Edwards said last week that he was "shocked and surprised" that his bid for around 180 of Poundworld's stores was rejected by Deloitte.

"I've made a substantial and credible offer, which is the best offer we can put forward, but in my opinion it hasn't been given the respect it deserves," he said.

"Although it was close to what the administrator wants, we've now had written confirmation that it's not high enough, which I'm shocked and surprised at, considering we were going to save 3,000 jobs."

Mr Smith and Deloitte declined to comment.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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