Brit retailer's stock dives.

Stock in Woolworths Group plc tumbled sharply after the British retailer confirmed that talks on a buyout have been terminated.

In a statement issued before the markets opened this morning (April 14), Woolworths said private equity firm Apax Partners Worldwide would not to proceed with an offer.

Woolworths opened its books to Apax after the investment firm raised an initial proposal on March 18. Apax's offer of 58.2p per share valued the chain at £821.8 million ($1.6 billion). In morning trading today, Woolworths stock was down 28.64% to 39.25p.

"We are a large, profitable cash-generative business, and all our energies remain focused on running the business well and improving it for our shareholders," Woolworths chairman Gerald Corbett says in a statement.

Last month, Woolworths announced that it would spin off its dedicated music and video chain MVC following a better-than-expected rise in full-year company profit. Looking forward, Woolworths has admitted concern about the business climate. "Current trading on the high street remains challenging," the chain reaffirmed today.

Woolworths has long been a leading player in British music retail. In 2003, the 800-plus-store chain accounted for 11.2% of album sales and 29.5% of singles sales in the United Kingdom, according to the British Phonographic Industry.