Theo Fennell partners with Endless to buy back brand, will focus on high end
It’s always interesting when a founder returns to spearhead a brand that has lost its way and now Theo Fennell, like Peter Williams at Jack Wills and Linda Bennett at LK Bennett before him, is back to offer a founder’s vision to his signature brand.
In a deal valued at around £5m, he has linked up with Endless LLP to buy the brand he founded 35 years ago but which fell into administration last month. The Endless involvement is through its Enact unit, which focuses on smaller businesses, according to reports.
Theo Fennell has strong brand recognition and a profitable ‘couture’ operation as well as a slew of celebrity fans, including Elton John, Emma Watson, the Beckhams and Liz Hurley. But they weren’t enough to stop it being put into administration by its owners. They had privatised the listed company in 2013 with the investors including Sir Keith Mills, who created the Nectar loyalty card brand, and Jon Moutlon, who has been in the news recently after failing to turn around Jaeger.
In the last year for which accounts are available, it made a pre-tax loss of £2.5m with its fast expansion since 2013 as it aimed to capitalise on the Theo Fennell name and grow via wholesale having been blamed for its failure. The administrators called in last month laid off some staff from its 54-strong team before the buyout.
After being the front man for the buyout deal, Fennell said the company would get back to its roots with a focus on the high end of the market and the customers with mega-money to spend. It will take a step back from wholesale.
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