After Coast and House of Fraser, will French Connection be next on the sales table?

New York - French Connection might be the next fashion retailer changing hands in the UK. The fashion retailer’s board has found itself forced to address the market rumours regarding a potential sale of the company, confirming it is currently reviewing all its “strategic options”.

The board of directors at French Connection confirmed over the weekend that it is in the process of reviewing all its strategic options to deliver maximum value to its shareholders. The company was in everyone’s mouth last week after the retailer’s chairman and chief executive officer, Stephen Marks, was revealed to be looking to offload his holding.

Marks has faced criticism over the past couple of years due to his dual role. The fashion label’s founder has been asked by investors to relinquish control of the business after years of losses. To the contempt of investors, the company appointed two new independent directors last year.

French Connection reviewing “all strategic options” including a sales

As a result, French Connection said in a statement it was “reviewing all strategic options in order to deliver maximum value for its shareholders, which includes the potential sale of the company”. Soon afterwards the company’s stock skyrocketed, advancing more than 30 percent to 56 pence apiece. The company’s market value as of last Friday was 52 million pounds.

Now, all eyes are on Mike Ashley as his sports chain remains is the other main shareholder of French Connection’ shares. It’s worth recalling that Sports Direct bought out activist investors in July, more than doubling its stake from 11 percent to 27 percent. In the UK, if a shareholder reaches 30 percent, it must launch a takeover bid.

Ashley has recently acquired House of Fraser from administration, strengthening his holding in the British high street and diversifying its apparel brands portfolio.

Image:French Connection Blog

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