Shares in French Connection (FCCN) jumped 16.7% higher to 28p after the hard-pressed fashion brand accepted a £29 million offer from a group of bidders, including Apinder Singh Ghura, the company’s second largest shareholder.

The takeover follows years of losses from the London-headquartered fashion retailer and wholesaler whose woes were exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Underlying losses in the year to January 2021 widened from £2.9 million to £11.7 million amid store closures and reduced demand from wholesale customers.


Earlier this year, French Connection began looking for new suitors after investment firms Spotlight Brands and Gordon Brothers pulled out of talks to buy the company and the board is unanimously recommending a takeover by MIP.

This newly incorporated entity is directly owned and controlled by Apinder Singh Ghura, French Connection’s 25.4% shareholder, Amarjit Singh Grewal and KJR Brothers Limited.

MIP is paying 30p per share in cash to get its hands on the company, a near-30% premium to the closing price on 22 September 2021, the day before French Connection confirmed an approach from the aforementioned consortium.

A supplier to the apparel and fashion industry for 33 years, Apinder Singh Gura is ‘looking forward to working with French Connection’s management to execute and implement MIP’s strategic plans to facilitate the future growth and profitability for the business.’


Stephen Marks, French Connection’s founder who has been looking to offload his 42% stake for years, is backing the takeover and will retire from his role as chairman once the sale completes.

Marks commented: ‘Over the last 5 years, French Connection has made significant progress in its plans to rationalise the size of its store portfolio and to return the French Connection Group to profitability.

‘It was always our intention to look at the most appropriate ownership structure for the business once it was back on track, and, having conducted a formal sale process, the French Connection Board has concluded that the offer being made by MIP is fair and reasonable.’

Marks added that the premium negotiated by the board ‘demonstrates the potential offered by the French Connection brand.’


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Issue Date: 04 Oct 2021