Suitors in line for New Look

At least three companies have shown interest in acquiring high street fashion retailer New Look. The company, which was taken private in 2004 for £699 million, has, in the past, referred to a possible flotation, but an eventual sale has not been ruled out. Buy-out firms including Texas Pacific Group have approached Apax and Permira, the current private equity owners. According to the FT, insiders claim that the company will most likely be sold to a private equity group in a secondary buy-out. A flotation might not be the most auspicious strategy, particularly given Debenhams’ recent weak share price. The department store group floated a year ago.

In January, New Look chief executive Phil Wrigley told the FT that the company might return to the London Stock Exchange this fall. “This time last year, I was neutral to negative about (an initial public offering) because we still had a lot to do,” he said. “The strength of trading recently opens up options for our investors.” Since being taken private three years ago, the chain has grown considerably, expanding its trading space by 50 percent. New Look is currently the third-largest women’s wear retailer in the UK. The company declined to comment on rumours of a possible sale.

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