Retail operator Cortefiel SA's bidders have reached an agreement to jointly acquire the business, according to sources cited by media reports.

Buyout companies PAI Partners and Permira will split Cortefiel's assets with rival suitor CVC Capital Partners, reports said.

CVC's Coral Retail Industries SL Unipersonal had offered a €17.9-per-share bid for the Spanish retailer, while PAI-Permira's MEP Retail Espana SL Unipersonal launched a bid of €18.40 per share.

An original agreement between CVC and 55.7 per cent of Cortefiel's shareholders stated that the deal could be broken only if a rival bid worth over €19.33 per share was received.

MEP's bid depended on acceptances from shareholders constituting 75 pct of Cortefiel, but PAI and Permira have reportedly received financial backing from ING, JP Morgan and Royal Bank of Scotland to lower the acceptance level to 25.01 per cent.

According to the terms of the new deal, PAI and Permira will acquire the business under an offer ending 8 August, with CVC planning to purchase around a third of the retailer's assets the next day.

Madrid-based Cortefiel is Spain's second-largest fashion chain, selling clothing at over retail 1,100 locations.