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Harris Scarfe Takeover Eyed By Former Owner

Yet another bidder are reportedly eyeing the rescue of failed department store, Harris Scarfe.

The former owners, Momentum private equity, has become among the parties looking to throw themselves in the ring for its purchase and take over.

Headed by former JPMorgan investment banker Kevin Jacobson, Momentum previously owned Harris Scarfe from 2007, after the firm purchased a controlling interest for $80 million.

Myer also took a chunk of its stake with 20 per cent, leaving Harris Scarfe management, fronted by Robert Atkins, with just 15 per cent.

(AAP Image/Kelly Barnes)

Resulting from the deal, four stores were rebranded as Myer outlets. Of the four, two were in Victoria and the other two were in Adelaide, leaving the remaining 39 stores as Harris Scarfe.

But five years later in 2012, Momentum sold the business to a private equity firm in South Africa, called Pepkor.

Pepkor then went on to sell to Steinhoff International two years later in 2014.

Now, Momentum may soon have control over Harris Scarfe again if their bidding is successful. The move could potentially see operational and financial success funnelled back into the embattled business.

But Momentum isn’t alone in the bidding war, with another Australian private equity firm, Alceon, also looking to add Harris Scarfe into their existing investments.

Alceon also have shares in Ezibuy and Pumpkin Patch, but it’s speculated their move to own Harris Scarfe may be to take on department store rival, Myer.

The bidding has narrowed to four parties and is set to be decided on the 14 February.

Momentum is known to be interested in the business but hasn’t made any final offers, however it’s reported that Alceon has made their final cut.

Additionally, DataRoom has revealed that former Coles Myer discount department division head, Bob Dalziel, has also been interested in the takeover.

Harris Scarfe managers are currently in the works to shut down 21 stores by early Febraury, with the intent on offloading remaining operations. The main closures of stores is understood to be located in Victoria, Queensland and NSW.

The sales process, run by accounting firm Deloitte, initially started with 20 interested buyers but has now simmered down to just four.

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