Imperial Brands and JTI have agreed to financially support Palmer and Harvey ahead of a takeover by Carlyle, a buyout firm, C-Store understands.

Imperial confirmed this morning it is in rescue talks with other parties to secure the long-term future of the wholesaler.

In a statement, Imperial Brands said: “Further to overnight media speculation, we confirm that we have been working, together with other stakeholders, to seek to create a sustainable future for the UK wholesaler, Palmer & Harvey, with whom we have a close trading relationship.”

JTI UK managing director Daniel Sciamma added: “Palmer & Harvey is a major wholesaler of our products in the U.K. and JTI is pleased to confirm that we have, along with other key stakeholders, been able to assist Palmer & Harvey in consolidating its trading platform.”

It is understood that a rescue deal led by Carlyle is likely to involve James Lancaster, who was a co-founder of McColl’s Retail Group in 1973. He became chief executive in 1990 and then chairman and chief executive in 1995. 

This week former P&H commercial director Darren Goldney was appointed managing director of Today’s Group. Commercial director Steve Watson has also left the company, P&H confirmed.