AMERICAN private equity company Hellman & Friedman has entered the bidding for British home shopping group Shop Direct, according to The Sunday Times.

The San-Francisco based investment house has joined BC Partners and Apax Partners in the running for the Littlewoods and Very owner, which has in the past claimed to be the UK's fourth largest retailer of furniture.

Hellman & Friedman is ready to bid £2.5 billion for the Liverpool based retailer, the newspaper claimed, £500 million short of the amount said to be wanted by current owners Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay.

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