French Connection today reported it has two potential suitors considering making an offer for it.
The multichannel fashion retailer, ranked Top350 in RXUK Top500 research, had been looking for buyers in recent years but had already put that to one side when the Covid-19 pandemic emerged.
Indeed, today’s news comes a little over a year since the retailer took itself off the market to focus on its multichannel turnaround. At the time, it said it would invest in its online platform while ensuring that it had the right number of shops to serve customers. Two years ago it traded from 96 shops and from 195 concessions.
Today French Connection says two possible bids may be in the offing, following approaches. Spotlight Brands, working with Gordon Brothers International, is behind one, while Go Global Retail, working with HMJ International Services, is behind the other.
In a statement, made in response to recent share price movement, French Connection today says: “Discussions with both Spotlight and Go Global remain at a very early stage. Accordingly there can be no certainty that an offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made.”
Both parties now have until 5pm on March 5 to make an offer or not. At the time of writing, French Connection shares are 72.5% up at 27p.
In October, French Connection chairman and chief executive Stephen Marks said the retailer was going through “the most difficult trading period that the group has ever faced” as he reported a 53% fall in first-half revenue to £23.9m, and pre-tax losses of £13.2m – 186% greater than the previous year.
The retailer has in recent years followed a strategy of reducing the size of its store estate to around 30 shops while making more of its sales to wholesale partners. Its transition from direct retail to fashion brand may have helped to spark interest in the business.