MD Mike Colley has been trying to head up a takeover of the business which operates 151 stores under the Arden News, Supernews, Candies, Supercigs and News Shop fascias for several years.
The buyout plans were put on hold while the business reduced debt accrued from Rippleglen's acquisition of Eastcliffe News Shops in 2007 and were then hit by the recession and the reluctance of the banks to make finances available for such a scheme.
The situation has prompted Rippleglen owner and chairman Harry Medcalfe to appoint BCMS Corporate, a company that specialises in selling private companies. He said he has instructed them to "sound out a number of organisations to enquire whether they would be interested in purchasing the whole of Rippleglen as a going concern in the event that Mike Colley is unable to complete an MBO".
Medcalfe told The Grocer this week that he would still like to complete a deal with Colley, and claimed that since he opened the bidding to other parties the banks were beginning to look more favourably on Colley's offer as they now faced the prospect of losing the business.
Colley said he was still confident he could seal the deal.
"In spite of the problems, I have made good progress and I am currently putting the finishing touches to an application for funds," he said. "I now firmly believe the directors will soon be in a position to make an offer for the purchase of the business and if successful would anticipate that completion would take place in this calendar year."
It is understood BCMS are sounding out leading retailers and wholesalers regarding the sale. One potential bidder is likely to be Martin McColl, the UK's largest operator of CTN's, although a spokesman for the business said it did not comment on speculation.