UK beds retailer Dreams sold to Sun Capital Partners

LONDON, March 6 Wed Mar 6, 2013 7:08am EST

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - British beds retailer Dreams has been sold to private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, safeguarding over 1,600 jobs but leaving 400 more at risk.

Administrators for the beds and furniture firm, Ernst & Young, said on Wednesday it had sold the struggling company's business and assets for an undisclosed sum, securing it new investment and allowing it to operate outside of insolvency.

The sale sees Sun Capital Partners buy 171 of Dreams' 266 stores, as well as its head office and two manufacturing sites, safeguarding around 1,600 of the firm's 2,000 jobs.

The remaining stores not included in the sale will stay open for business while administrators seek buyers for them.

Private equity firm Exponent acquired Dreams from its founder Mike Clare in 2008 in a deal worth over 200 million pounds. Since late last year Clare had tried to repurchase Dreams in a rescue deal but was unsuccessful.

Britain's high street retailers have struggled as austerity fears and muted wage growth have curbed consumer spending. Music retailer HMV, camera specialist Jessops and DVD rental firm Blockbuster have all gone into administration this year.

In a further blow to the British high street on Wednesday travel firm Thomas Cook said it plans to close 195 stores as part of a wider restructuring that will see around 2,500 jobs cut.

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