Advent buys sofa maker DFS for £500m

Former Conservative party treasurer Lord Kirkham has sold the furniture chain to the the owner of Po

The acquisition comes after talks of a sale with Cinven and another private equity suitor collapsed. Only weeks ago, the 65-year-old executive chairman of DFS had taken the company off the market, saying he was not interested in selling the business. Former Alliance Boots chief executive Richard Baker will replace Lord Kirkham as chairman.

Lord Kirkham founded the company in a former billiard hall in Doncaster over 40 years ago, when it was known as Northern Upholstery. He renamed it DFS in the 1980s and took it private for £507m in 2004. Full Circle Future, the holding company for the sofa retailer, reported a pre-tax profit of £17.7m in the year to August 2009. DFS has 74 stores and employs over 2,600 staff.