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Phase Eight sold for £238m


International womenswear brand Phase Eight is to be sold to South African retailer Foschini Group, in a deal that values the company at £238m.

The Foschini Group (TFG) is a leading independent retail group in South Africa with over 2,200 stores and 17 retail brands encompassing clothing, jewellery, accessories, sporting and outdoor apparel and equipment, cellular goods and services, and homeware.

The sale, expected to be announced in the coming days, will see the British brand rolled out across southern Africa as part of Foschini’s ongoing international expansion plans.

Private equity group TowerBrook, which bought Phase Eight for £80m in 2011, hired Rothschild in July to explore options for the business.

The acquisition represents an opportunity for Phase Eight to accelerate the brand’s international expansion plans, while at the same time offering TFG access to Phase Eight’s management team and an operating model that has proved successful in the rapid rollout of new stores and concessions around the world.

Since TowerBrook’s investment in early 2011, Phase Eight has grown its network from 231 stores and concessions across the UK and Ireland only to 438 stores and concessions across 18 countries, including markets such as Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Middle East, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

TowerBrook Managing Director, Winston Ginsberg, said:

“Phase Eight has been a successful investment for TowerBrook. We backed a very impressive management team who managed to nearly double the number of stores and concessions worldwide, increasing profitability by 40%. The sale to TFG will enable the business to continue to grow strongly and we wish the management team every success for the future.”

Ben Barnett, CEO at Phase Eight added:

“Our 4-year partnership with TowerBrook has been outstanding, with the brand rapidly developing in international stature, alongside continued growth in both sales and profitability. TowerBrook’s support of the management team over this period has been a key factor in our success, which has culminated in the significant investment in the business by TFG. Since our introduction to TFG, we have been highly impressed by the strength of their team, and very much look forward to working with them to further develop Phase Eight to its full potential.”

Published on Friday 16 January by Veebs Sabharwal

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