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French Connection sale completes in £29m deal that takes the company private

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French Connection has a new owner, following the completion of its £29m sale.

The multichannel fashion brand and retailer, ranked Top250 in RXUK Top500 research, is now owned by MIP Holdings.  

MIP is run by existing French Connection shareholder Apinder Singh Ghura, together with Amarjit Singh Grewal and KJR Brothers Limited. Last month it agreed a 30p a share deal, which valued the retailer’s issued share capital at about £28.98m. Ghura already owned 25.4% of French Connection shares, bought by MIP as part of the deal.

Stephen Marks, who founded French Connection in 1972, today stood down from the company as chairman, chief executive and director, as have independent non-executive directors Sarah Curran and Neil Page. Marks previously said he would retire following the sale, and the company will now operate as a private company. 

MIP director Apinder Singh Ghura has previously said that MIP will work with French Connection’s management to take forward MIP’s “strategic plans to facilitate the future growth and profitability for the business.”

It remains to be seen to what extent new owners will continue French Connection’s previous strategy of focusing on multichannel by investing online while right sizing its store estate. 

The sale comes more than two years after the multichannel retailer was originally put up for sale by owner Stephen Marks. No buyer was found at the time and it was taken off the market in January 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to focus on a multichannel turnaround. Since then, Marks has described the pandemic as “the most difficult trading period that the group has ever faced.” The retailer posted a bottom line pre-tax loss of £19.7m in the year to January 31 2021.He adds: “When the transaction closes, I will retire from French Connection. This is an appropriate time for me to step back from the business that I founded in 1972, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our people for their contribution to our achievements over the years. I wish them all every success in the future.”

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