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Superdry founder seeks investment for private deal

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Julian Dunkerton, managing director and co-founder of Superdrug, is reportedly in talks with the owner of Oak Furnitureland in a bid to take the fashion brand private.

According to Sky News, US investor Davidson Kempner – which has backed a number of UK retailers including Jojo Maman Bebe and New Look – is in discussions with Dunkerton regarding an offer for Superdry. The talks are at a preliminary stage and there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached.

Earlier this month, it emerged that Dunkerton wanted to buy the majority stake in Superdry. He currently owns under 30% of the shares following a return to the business in 2019 after being ousted.

Dunkerton had previously approached Gordon Brothers, which owns Laura Ashley, about backing his take-private bid.

Additionally, Norwegian hedge fund First Seagull had acquired a 5.3% stake in Superdrug, in the hopes of a buyout.

There have been multiple reports of store closures and job losses at the struggling fashion retailer this year. It follows Superdry’s adjusted pre-tax loss widening from £13.6mn to £25.3mn in the six months to 28 October, after sales plunged 23.5% to £219.8mn.

The retailer had cited a “challenging consumer retail market, set against a backdrop of macroeconomic uncertainty and some remarkably unseasonal weather conditions” for the widening losses.

The business is currently working with PwC advisers to explore its options, including a company voluntary arrangement and other forms of restructuring.

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