Keeper of dreams?

Mike Clare, founder of Dreams, Britain's biggest beds retailer has a difficult decision to make if today's papers are to believed. The Telegraph claims Clare is in talks with private equity firms to sell a £200m majority stake that would see him step down as chief executive, while The Independent insists a stock market flotation valuing the company at £500m and keeping Clare at the helm was more likely.

Either way, it looks like Mike's about to strike it seriously rich. The former furniture salesman is a real entrepreneurs' entrepreneur. At school he repaired and traded bicycles, by 18 he was buying condoms in bulk using his mother's cash 'n' carry card and selling them on individually at profit to shy students.Then in 1986 with the simple observation 'everyone needs a bed' he started Dreams by selling his car, borrowing £8,000 from the bank and securing a credit card on the premise it was to pay for a kitchen extension.Dreams now has 170 stores and annual sales in excess of £200m - with Clare retaining 100% equity. A frequent speaker at entrepreneurial networking events, he's often referred to Dreams as his fifth child and dismissed the idea of a sale.But, seemingly, not now. Is Mike representative of a host of entrepreneurs tempted to sell up before the new Capital Gains Tax rate comes into play?

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