LONDON — South African investment firm Brait SE said Friday that it will acquire a 90 percent interest in the British fast fashion retailer New Look, for around 780 million pounds, or $1.3 billion, from the private equity firms Apax Partners and Permira.
The Singh family, who founded New Look in 1969, will reinvest in the company following the new transaction, taking the remaining 10 percent in the business, together with the company’s current management team.
Permira said Friday that the transaction places an enterprise value of around 1.9 billion pounds, or $3 billion on New Look, while the firm holds 1 billion pounds, or $1.58 billion of net financial debt.
New Look’s chief executive officer Anders Kristiansen, along with Mike Iddon, its chief financial officer and Roger Wightman, its chief creative officer, will remain with the business. New Look counts over 800 stores globally, in markets including the U.K,. Europe, China, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Brait said it will fund the purchase using available facilities and cash on hand. The investment firm is owned by South African billionaire Christo Wiese, who last month took a majority stake in Richard Branson’s Virgin Active gym chain for 682 million pounds or $1.07 billion.
John Gnodde, Brait’s chief executive officer, described New Look as “an attractive investment opportunity for Brait.” “It is a market leading brand, with a strong track record of double digit EBITDA growth, solid cash flow conversion, international reach and the potential to grow rapidly in a number of geographic markets including China.”
Kristiansen added: “[Brait] gives us the perfect platform to continue our strategy of growing the New Look brand in the U.K., Europe and China.”
Apax and Permira acquired New Look in 2004, taking the firm off the stock market. Earlier this year, Kristiansen was quoted as saying the firm was ready for an IPO, after having abandoned a planned IPO in 2010, in light of an “unfavorable” market at the time.