Dragons’ Dens Paphitis pulls out of Woolies bid

Dragons’ Den member Theo Paphitis has pulled out of the race to buy parts of troubled retailer Woolworths. The entrepreneur was one of the favourites to take over the company.

Paphitis says he is pulling out of an offer because he has been unable to reach a deal with its administrators.

“Unfortunately, the constituent parts of Woolworths are more valuable than the whole. The administrators have a difficult job to do and I appreciate that they need to get the highest cash value for the business,” Paphitis says.

“I hope that an alternative proposal succeeds in securing the future for the many Woolworths employees involved.”

Administrators from Deloitte said earlier this week that there had been “substantial interest” in the company.

Paphitis was looking at taking over some stores and preserving the Woolworths brand.

The frontrunners for the store are now thought to be Ardeshir Naghshineh, Woolworths’ largest shareholder, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco, the Co-op and discount chain Poundland.

A deal is not expected to be announced immediately and it is unlikely that any one buyer will take control of the entire business.

Woolworths’ retail and wholesale operations went into administration last week, putting the jobs of 30,000 staff at risk. Stores are remaining open until after Christmas, but the company’s website has been suspended and is no longer accepting orders.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here