Stephen Marks moves closer to selling French Connection
Stephen Marks moves closer to selling struggling fashion company French Connection after receiving £ 29million takeover offer
Stephen Marks has moved closer to selling his ailing fashion company French Connection after receiving a £ 29million takeover offer.
A group comprising the company’s second-largest investor, little-known Newcastle businessman Apinder Singh Ghura, has put forward a 30-cent-per-share offer, the company said after its share price surged.
Its stock closed 16% higher, up 3.7 pence to 26.8 pence, valuing it at £ 26million.
Stranded: At its peak in 2004, French Connection was worth around £ 500million, but then fell out of favor with younger buyers
Marks founded French Connection, whose FCUK label was popular in the early 2000s, in 1972 and is its chairman and CEO. He has been trying for years to sell his 42 percent stake.
The 75-year-old is said to take home around £ 12million from the deal, which has yet to be formalized. At its peak in 2004, French Connection was worth around £ 500million, but then fell out of favor with younger buyers as competitors such as Zara and Topshop gained momentum and have not been profitable since. a decade.
The pandemic hit sales hard and losses stretched to £ 12million in the year through January, compared to a loss of £ 3million the year before.
French Connection went on sale in March after a wave of interest in the takeover in February, with possible offers launched by Gordon Brothers International and Spotlight Brands, and another from Go Global Retail.
None ultimately decided to bid for the group, but French Connection said it had been in talks with three other potential bidders.
The talks sparked a surge in French Connection’s share price, prompting retail mogul Mike Ashley to sell the 25 percent stake he bought in 2017.
Ashley’s stake was taken over by Apinder Singh Ghura, who is part of the consortium bidding to privatize the company.
Wrestling: Stephen Marks founded French Connection in 1972
The group also includes Amarjit Singh Grewal and KJR Brothers.
Ghura, who spent years in the garment industry before turning to other investments such as real estate and nursing homes, said in February he was not planning an offer but was leaving his options open.
He said he thought French Connection was “a good investment and a good brand”.
The fashion retailer also owns a handful of other home and lifestyle brands, including Great Plains and premium clothing chain Toast.
It was previously owned by Nicole Farhi, the eponymous brand created by one of the first creators of French Connection, before being sold in 2010.
The fashion designer would earn around £ 600,000 from her 2% stake in French Connection if the 30 pence per share deal goes through.
Marks and Farhi were in a relationship and had a daughter, Candice Marks, before they separated. Farhi later married acclaimed playwright and screenwriter David Hare.
Early in his career, Marks was known as “The Hotpants King” after spotting the Paris craze and bringing them to the UK.
His other businesses have notably helped fund Guy Ritchie’s films Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and hold a large stake in Hard Rock Cafe.