Revised bids for Gieves & Hawkes due this week, Frasers remains in the running
Frasers, which is also currently aiming to buy Australia’s MySale, is one of a shortlist of bidders expected to lodge revised offers this week, according to Sky News.
The owner of Sports Direct, House of Frasers, Flannels, Jack Wills and more has increasingly been moving upmarket with the expansion of its high-end Flannels chain and its sizeable stakes in Mulberry and Hugo Boss.
But Gieves & Hawkes would be its most luxe label yet. The Savile Row tailor has held royal warrants (including from the late Queen and her husband Prince Philip, and the new King Charles III) as well as dressing other names as big as Lord Nelson, Winston Churchill and Noël Coward.
It came onto the market as a result of the troubles at its Chinese owner, Trinity Limited.
Now-liquidated, Trinity was part of struggling Shandong Ruyi , which a decade ago had ambitions to be the Chinese equivalent of LVMH. But it overreached itself with a huge debt load that was hard to manage. It also lost control of premium French fashion retailer SMCP, the owner of Sandro and Maje.
Earlier, Gieves & Hawkes was faced with a winding-up petition in Hong Kong (as were portfolio-mates Cerruti and Kent & Curwen), but it was expected to survive given the huge value such a historic luxury brand brings with it.
The sale is expected to include Gieves and Hawkes’ UK business as well as its operations and licensing deals in Greater China.
Frasers has a history of buying troubled brands but isn’t known for buying them at premium prices and it has missed out on some acquisition targets, losing to higher bidders.
It’s unclear who Frasers' rivals are in the race to acquire Gieves & Hawkes. Sky News said a small number of bidders remain in the race. Last year it was suggested that the increasingly acquisitive M&S was also interested following its purchase of the failed Jaeger brand.
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