LONDON — Ittierre SpA, which has a six-year licensing deal to produce Aquascutum’s men’s and women’s ready to wear and accessories for continental Europe, has no plans to buy the troubled brand.
An Ittierre spokesman denied reports last week it was in talks to purchase the U.K. arm of Aquascutum, which earlier this month filed for the British equivalent of Chapter 11, and is now in the hands of administrators.
However, the spokesman told WWD that Ittierre wants a buyer to be found because it has the long-term licensing contract with the company that remains valid. The six-year Ittierre deal is for the continental European, Russian and Middle Eastern markets. The first collections bowed for fall 2012.
A spokeswoman for FRP Advisory LLP, the administrators handling the Aquascutum sale, said they are hoping to seal a deal in the coming week. She confirmed they would be selling the brand, a manufacturing plant in Corby, England, which shut down earlier this month, and related assets. Any potential owner, however, will only control a tiny part of the Aquascutum business.
In 2009, the investor and current chairman of the British Fashion Council Harold Tillman and his business partner, retailer Belinda Earl bought the small, loss-making slice of Aquascutum from Japan’s Renown Inc. for an undisclosed price.
As part of the deal, Tillman and Earl sold Aquascutum’s intellectual property rights, including the Aquascutum trademark for China and the rest of Asia, to the Hong Kong-based YGM Mart Ltd. YGM had been the brand’s licensee in China and currently owns the brand rights in 42 territories.
The lion’s share of Aquascutum’s sales and profits come from the Far East. As reported, YGM has already declared its interest in buying the U.K. division and the related rights outside the Asian territories.