Suitors take a New Look at fashion chain

Michael Bow
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NEW Look’s private equity backers are mulling plans to offload the chain – and its burgeoning presence in China could attract Chinese buyers into a bidding war for the group.

Chinese conglomerate Fosun, which took a stake in Thomas Cook last month, CDH and Citic Capital were all reported yesterday to have taken a look at the company, underscoring New Look’s growing presence in the country.

China is one of New Look’s key markets, with about 18 stores. It also sells clothing through Alibaba’s popular Tmall website, which has about 180m buyers.

New Look boss Anders Kristiansen also has vast experience in the Chinese consumer market.

He previously established 5,500 stores of Bestseller Fashion Group in China when he was vice chief executive of the group.

Permira and Apax, the shop’s backers, have owned the group for over a decade, making it a prime candidate for a change of ownership, under the normal time scale of private equity ownership.

Kristiansen said in February New Look was “ready” to list on the stock market, although all options are still understood to be on the table. New Look reported a 4.7 per cent rise in half-year revenues last November.

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