Palmer&Harvey has announced talks with investment company Carlyle Group

Palmer & Harvey has now entered a period of exclusivity over a potential sale to global investment giant Carlyle Group.

The wholesaler announced the latest development today, explaining that it was looking to secure significant capital investment through the deal, including “the incoming investor taking control of the equity of Palmer & Harvey McLane (Holdings) Limited”.

The deal remains subject to ongoing due diligence.

“The company is grateful to all parties for the time invested in exploring the opportunities presented,” said a P&H statement. “The company will share more details about this development with its customers, suppliers and many trading partners in the coming weeks.

“The company looks forward to securing this potential transaction, which will provide a strong financial platform from which to build upon its 90 years of experience in the wholesale industry, its strong customer relationships, and its unrivalled scale to take full advantage of the many opportunities across its markets.”

P&H had appointed PWC to look into options for a sale in the spring and Carlyle emerged as a serious contender in September - indeed it was expected that it was going to enter an exclusivity period with the troubled wholesaler then.

It is understood that tobacco giants Imperial Brands and JTI provided bridging loans to help keep the business running while negotiations with Carlyle were ongoing.

Carlyle is thought to be lining up McColl’s founder James Lancaster to become chairman of P&H should it complete a takeover. Lancaster stepped down from his role as non-executive director of McColl’s earlier this month.