LONDON — Ted Baker is making progress in its hunt for a new owner, confirming that it has asked a clutch of suitors to undertake due diligence before making a final bid for the company.
It did not clarify which prospective buyers it chose, only that it had received “a number of non-binding proposals” from potentially interested parties and invited a “focused selection” of those interested to sign NDAs, and take a look at the books.
The company has said it is looking for a buyer who can offer a value that the board considers “attractive” relative to the stand-alone prospects of Ted Baker as a listed company on the London Stock Exchange.
It has already rebuffed Sycamore Partners three times, saying its bids undervalued the company.
Ted Baker’s shares were up 2.1 percent to around 1.50 pounds in late-morning trading on Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange. The company’s market capitalization is 277.3 million pounds.
The board said there is still no certainty that an offer will be made, or that it will accept any of the them. It may also decide to terminate talks with specific bidders or call off the sale process altogether.
The company will report its results for the 52-week period ended Jan. 29 and first-quarter trading update on May 26.
As reported earlier this week, the New York-based brand development and entertainment firm Authentic Brands Group submitted a bid for the London-based Ted Baker men’s and women’s brand. ABG recently finalized its 2.1 billion euro purchase of Reebok and partnered with David Beckham to co-own and manage his business.
ABG’s value is now in excess of $21 billion as measured by annual retail sales.
Because Ted Baker also operates a fleet of more than 300 stores around the world, ABG’s bid could be in partnership with Simon Property Group, the mall developer it has partnered with under its SPARC division to buy and manage Brooks Brothers, Eddie Bauer, Aéropostale, Forever 21, Lucky Brand and Nautica.
However, Simon only operates stores in the U.S. and most of Ted Baker’s stores are in other countries, meaning that ABG could also be going it alone on this one. Simon also reportedly has a potential acquisition of its own in its sight: Kohl’s Department Stores. The mall operator is said to have put in a bid for Kohl’s with Brookfield Asset Management.
Ted Baker officially put itself up for sale earlier this month following a series of bids by New York-based Sycamore Partners to buy the business, all of which were rejected as too low. It told anyone interested in submitting a bid to contact its financial advisers, Evercore and Blackdown Partners.
The deal-hungry Sycamore first offered 1.30 pounds a share, and then returned with 1.38 pounds. Ted Baker did not confirm the value of the third offer, although the high-street retailer described it as “improved.” The size of ABG’s offer is not known, but presumably it would be higher than the ones already submitted by Sycamore.