LONDON — Harold Tillman, the British clothing and textile entrepreneur, has purchased Jaeger for an undisclosed sum, confirming reports in these columns Monday.

This story first appeared in the March 11, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A statement was issued Monday saying that Tillman had purchased Jaeger Holdings from Richard Thompson of Riverhawk Investments. As reported, Thompson had bought Jaeger and Viyella from Coats PLC in January and was preparing to flip both companies.

A Jaeger spokeswoman declined to comment. Adding a dash of intrigue, however, sources close to Jaeger insisted that the company had not been sold, and was still under Thompson’s ownership.

Monday’s statement specified that Tillman, chairman of suit manufacturer BMB, and a 10 percent shareholder in the U.K. clothing manufacturer, Marchpole, had bought Jaeger in a personal capacity.

“Jaeger is one of the most famous names in British fashion. It was an iconic brand in the Sixties and Seventies and we are confident that, through a fresh approach backed by significant investment, we can exploit its true potential and restore the company to its former glory,” Tillman said in the statement.

The statement added that BMB will share information on supply, product sourcing and management with Jaeger. The statement also said that BMB might eventually be awarded a marketing license for Jaeger Menswear.

As reported, its is unclear whether Bella Freud, who designs a capsule collection for Jaeger, would continue working with the brand. Freud, whose contract expires in June, could not be reached for comment.

Sources here say, however, that Tillman intends to restore the Jaeger collection to its classic, traditional roots and there is no intention to keep Freud on as a consulting designer.

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