Ladies'clothing and shoe chain Hobbs has been bought by private equity firm 3i in a deal worth £111 million.

The deal, which values the retail group at £84m plus debt, will allow the company's directors to nearly double their stake in the business to 37 per cent.

Hobbs, which has 60 stores across the UK and Ireland, is being sold by Barclays Private Capital. It has has nearly trebled its value since Barclays supported a £30m management buyout from the company's founders Yoram and Marilyn Anselm in 2002.

Managing director Nick Samual, who led the buyout, will stay on.

3i is a part owner of the Gant menswear chain and recently sold fashion group Ben Sherman.

It is believed that other companies in the bidding for Hobbs included Phoenix Equity Partners and Change Capital Partners.  

The deal with 3i is subject to regulatory approval and is predicted to close by the end of this month.

1981-established Hobbs sells shoes, clothing and accessories in its standalone stoes and concessions in department stores such as Selfridges and Fenwick. The company said in June that it is considering expanding into the North American and Far Eastern markets.