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government-trade

Fat Face on Path to IPO

The British casual wear retailer has named advisers.

LONDON — Fat Face, the high-street brand, could be one of a host of British retailers to seek an initial public offering later this year.

 

On Tuesday, a spokesman for Bridgepoint, the international private equity group that owns Fat Face, declined to confirm reports in the British press that it had named advisers Citigroup and Jefferies to prepare it for an IPO.

 

A source familiar with Fat Face, however, said that while momentum is building around an IPO, nothing is imminent. The sources said the banks would be “considering in more depth the possibility of an IPO.”

 

Fat Face joins a roster of British retailers exploring public offerings, including the department store chain House of Fraser, the high-street discounter Poundland and Pets at Home.

 

Bridgepoint purchased Fat Face in 2007 in a deal valuing the company at 540 million euros, or $740 million at average exchange rates for that year.

 

Fat Face operates a multichannel model, with 208 owned retail stores in the U.K. and Ireland, mail-order catalogues and an e-commerce site. It sells men’s, women’s and children’s casual clothing and accessories, and is set to launch an activewear collection later this year.

 

The company’s chairman is Sir Stuart Rose, former chairman and chief executive officer at Marks & Spencer Group, and its chief executive is Anthony Thompson, a former head of Asda’s George clothing division.

 

For the six months to Nov. 30, 2013, sales at Fat Face increased 15 percent to 98.9 million pounds, or $155.3 million, while EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was up 57 percent to 19.6 million pounds, or $30.8 million.

 

Figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the six-month period.