Speculation over buyer for Dobbies continues

Klondyke chief executive Bob Hewitt has said there are "any number" of alternative buyers for Dobbies which owner Tesco put on the market last week, though "Wyevale will be the most interested."

He added: "Dobbies would make [Wyevale] a truly national chain."

Hewitt, who ran Wyevale until 2005 having joined in 1989, said a management buy-out or industry big group takeover was possible. He said any group taking over a 36-centre chain would have a "challenge" and that there was not much quick growth in Dobbies.

He added: "We’re happy with our company growing the way we are."

Hewitt said only Inverness, Carlisle and Edinburgh of his 24 centres compete with Dobbies.

Sources suggest City money remains the most likely option with management buy-outs, garden centre chains (other than Terra Firma-owned Wyevale) and industry veterans unlikely to make bids.

Industry figures have also expressed concern about consolidation following any purchase of Dobbies.

No purchase process has been discussed internally at Dobbies, HW has been told.

See more in the next issue of Horticulture Week magazine.

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