Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), the well-known owner of heritage brands Jaeger and Austin Reed, has unexpectedly received multiple unsolicited approaches from potential buyers who are interested in acquiring these iconic brands. Although EWM was not actively seeking to sell these brands, it appears that international strategic bidders, including a bidder from China, have expressed a keen interest. The allure of these heritage brands lies in their strong British identity, which holds significant value in the global market, particularly in Asia.

Recognizing the potential opportunity, EWM has appointed an advisor to carefully evaluate these bids and determine the true value of the brands. However, any potential buyer would need to present an exceptionally attractive offer since EWM had not initially intended to sell the brands and has only made a minimal number of layoffs due to the ongoing pandemic. It should be noted that there are currently no indications suggesting that Philip Day, the billionaire owner of EWM, is contemplating selling a larger stake in the company.

EWM has established a solid track record of acquiring distressed brands and successfully reviving them. Over the past few years, the company has effectively acquired and rehabilitated renowned brands such as Austin Reed, Jaeger, as well as Calvetron-owned brands such as Jacques Vert, Eastex, and Windsmoor, and Berwin & Berwin. This demonstrates EWM’s expertise in breathing new life into struggling brands, ensuring their continued relevance and success in the market.

As one of the largest privately-held companies in the UK, EWM is owned by Philip Day and also controls other well-known brands like Peacocks, Bonmarché, and Jane Norman. EWM’s diverse portfolio of brands positions the company as a significant player within the retail industry, exerting its influence on various segments of the market.

Useful links:
1. Edinburgh Woollen Mill
2. EWM Recovery (applicable for information about the company’s brand acquisition and turnaround strategies)