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Toys R Us seeks bids for European arm as UK hours away from administration

Toys R Us is seeking bids for its stores in Continental Europe just hours before it plans to place its British operations into administration.

Sky News reports that advisers to the stricken toy retailer have told potential buyers of its European division to lodge offers by the close of business on Monday.

Toys R Us trades from more than 230 shops in ten European markets, including Austria, France, Germany and Spain.

Several private equity firms are understood to be planning to table bids for the division, which also has a presence in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Poland and Portugal.

It was unclear this weekend whether the European arm of Toys R Us faces a similar path towards insolvency if a sale cannot be agreed in the coming weeks.

The corporate recovery firm, Moorfields is being lined up to handle the administration of Toys R Us UK, which is expected to be triggered on Tuesday. The move could threaten more than 3,000 jobs on what has been called an already troubled high street.

Officials from the Pension Protection Fund, Toys R Us’ biggest unsecured creditor, were notified late last week of the impending insolvency amid fading hopes of a rescue deal.

A major stumbling block for the retailer will be in paying a £15m VAT bill due on Tuesday without a buyer being found.

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