// The auction of Boots is at risk of falling apart as debt markets seize up and consumer confidence drops
// There are now doubts over whether a bid will emerge from the Issa brothers and private equity firm TDR, the joint owners of Asda
There has been growing speculation that the sale of Boots could collapse as potential buyers struggle with lenders as consumer confidence dwindles.
It comes as the New York-based private equity firm Apollo and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries have reportedly teamed up to make a £5.5 billion bid for the health and beauty retailer.
The Sunday Times reported that the joint bid was around £1.5bn below the £7bn that Boots’ US owner Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) were originally looking for.
The paper hss also reported there are concerns that a rival bid from Asda owners, the billionaire Issa brothers and private equity giant TDR, may not come to fruition.
The fears come against a backdrop of weakening consumer confidence as shoppers pull back on discretionary spending amid 40-year high inflation.
The Issa brothers have faced a hard battle to raise finance, The Sunday Times stated, quoting a source close to the brothers.
“It’s looking tough. The debt markets are closed,” the source said.
Back in March, a consortium made up of private equity giants CVC and Bain withdrew from the race after admitting they would only be willing to cough up £4bn for the pharmacy chain.
Boots trades from more than 2000 stores and employs over 50,000 people, making it one of the UK’s biggest private sector employers.