LONDON — After suffering years of losses, British high-street brand French Connection has accepted a 29 million pound, or $39.45 million, offer to take the company private from a group of bidders that includes its second-largest shareholder, Apinder Singh Ghura.
The brand said Ghura will buy the company through MIP Holdings, which he controls with Amarjit Singh Grewal and KJR Brothers Ltd.
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According to Companies House filings, the little-known 58-year-old Newcastle-based Ghura brought 25.4 percent of the brand’s shares at the beginning of this year from Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group for around 3 million to 4 million pounds. Weeks later, French Connection said it would review its options and try to find a buyer. In September, the brand revealed that Ghura was leading a bid for the business.
Commenting on the deal, Ghura said, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the French Connection directors on this recommended acquisition. We are looking forward to working with French Connection’s management to execute and implement MIP’s strategic plans to facilitate the future growth and profitability for the business.”
In a statement sent to WWD, French Connection said the board was unanimous that “the terms of the offer are fair and reasonable and that they will provide French Connection shareholders with a significant premium to the share price before the start of the current offer period.”
“When the acquisition completes, Stephen Marks will retire from French Connection, a business he founded in 1972,” the company added.
Known by many for is acronym FCUK, French Connection is one of many British high-street chains to fall on hard times in the age of digital shopping, environmentally conscious consumers and increased competition from the big European fast-fashion retailers such as Zara and H&M, as well as local e-tailers like Boohoo and Asos.