The struggling UK fashion brand, French Connection, is set to return to private ownership with a £29 million takeover by Apinder Singh Ghura. Shareholders have voted in favor of the acquisition, which will see Ghura, along with Amarjit Singh Grewal and KJR Brothers Limited, take control of the business through their consortium called Mip Holdings. The takeover deal is still subject to final court approval, but it is expected that shares will cease trading on 5 November, with Ghura’s consortium assuming control on 8 November.

Stephen Marks, the founder and outgoing chair and chief executive of French Connection, who holds a 42% stake in the company, will receive approximately £12 million for his shares. This is a significant drop in value compared to previous years. Ghura has expressed his enthusiasm for working with French Connection’s management to develop strategic plans for future growth and profitability. He also thanked Stephen Marks for his support throughout the acquisition process.

French Connection has been facing financial difficulties for several years, compounded by the impact of the pandemic. However, there are signs of recovery in the latest trading figures released in October. The business saw increases in its wholesale and e-commerce sales, although its half-year revenues still experienced a 21.2% decline compared to 2019 due to retail portfolio reductions. However, group revenue increased by 68.2% when compared to the previous year.

The company’s underlying loss has also narrowed from £3.6 million in 2019 to £0.9 million, driven by store closures, increased wholesale volumes, and efforts in cost management. French Connection owns other brands such as Great Plains and You Must Create (YMC), and it operates 67 stores and concessions in the UK, as well as 161 locations internationally under franchises and licenses.

Useful links:
French Connection Official Website
BBC article on French Connection takeover deal