US hedge funds edge closer to move on struggling Brighthouse 

Brighthouse store
Brighthouse rents household items such as fridges


Britain's largest rent-to-own retailer Brighthouse could soon be parting from its private equity owner as a consortium of bondholders gets closer to tabling a deal.

The chain, which rents out household items such as fridges and vacuum cleaners through its 280 shops, is under increasing pressure to refinance £220m of bonds that are due next year.

It expected to kick off a formal sales process this month. However, The Sunday Telegraph understands that a consortium of bondholders is preparing to propose a debt-for-equity swap in the coming weeks. The plan could squeeze out its private equity owner Vision Capital, which bought the group 10 years ago as part of a wider deal worth around £250m.

Recent rule changes to the hire-purchase sector have had a major impact on Brighthouse, mainly because it has had to turn away potential customers for having poor credit histories.

Earnings crashed 79pc to £11.7m in the year to March, although Hamish Paton, the chief executive, said last month that the group was “making progress in returning the business to growth”.

Brighthouse declined to comment.