A&R Whitcoulls Group, which has 60 stores in New Zealand, cleared the first hurdle yesterday with Commerce Commission clearance to buy the four Borders stores in New Zealand.
Whitcoulls is owned by Australian private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners which is waiting for Australian Consumer and Competition Commission clearance to buy the 20 Australian stores.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of Paper Plus, Rob Smith, confirmed yesterday that the firm had made an offer to Borders.
He said that due to the co-operative structure of the company, it was not required to seek regulatory clearance.
Sources familiar with the sale thought it unlikely that Borders' American owners - who are divesting around the world to concentrate on money losing US operations - would split off Australian and New Zealand assets into separate sales.