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French Connection receives buyout offer from consortium of bidders

By Huw Hughes

Sep 23, 2021

Management

Image: French Connection

French Connection has received a buyout offer after launching a formal sales process earlier this year.

The offer, of 30 pence per share in cash, comes from a consortium of bidders including the company’s second-largest shareholder, Apinder Singh Ghura, who owns a 24.95 percent stake in the business.

The company’s largest shareholder is founder and CEO Stephen Marks.

French Connection said discussions with the consortium remain ongoing, and stressed there was no certainty an offer will be made.

Shares rise on takeover speculation

The update comes after the retailer kicked off a formal sales process back in March after two investment firms pulled out of takeover talks.

The news on Thursday sent the struggling retailer’s shares up over 20 percent. But that’s still far off its all-time high share price of almost 5 pounds in 2004.

The high street retailer was highly popular in the 90s and early 00s but has struggled in recent years to compete with online competition.

For the year ended January 31 2021, group revenue fell 40.4 percent to 71.5 million pounds, compared to 119.9 million pounds a year earlier.

Wholesale revenue dropped 33.1 percent to 49 million pounds, while retail revenue fell 51.8 percent to 22.5 million pounds. Online sales in the year were up 7.1 percent.

French Connection’s underlying loss for the year was 11.7 million pounds compared to 2.9 million pounds a year earlier.