Brunswick nabs New Look as initial public offering looms

Fashion chain New Look has moved its retained corporate PR account from Finsbury to Brunswick amid rumours the company is planning a return to the stock market.

Rumours: New Look
Rumours: New Look

It is understood that Brunswick has been handed a broad corporate comms brief that incorporates no specific transaction aspect.

However, press speculation is rife that New Look is actively seeking an initial public offering (IPO) that could take place in the early months of 2010.

The fashion chain is yet to publicly confirm any flotation plans, but sources close to the retailer have been quoted saying that a £1.7bn IPO is under serious consideration.

Brunswick has previously served as New Look's retained corporate agency and took it through the 2004 sale to private equity firms Permira and Apax for £699m. Founder Tom Singh still retains a 22 per cent stake in the retailer.

New Look has also hired Sarah Rajani to head its investor relations and corporate comms functions.

She previously worked at luggage firm Samsonite where she was global vice-president of strategic development and investor relations and was responsible for the firm's global IR strategy, incorporating the preparation of an IPO.

Though New Look carries £1.1bn of debt, the firm is tipped as a prime candidate for flotation given that it is one of the few mainstream retailers to emerge from the economic downturn relatively unscathed.

New Look sales rose 15 per cent in the year to the end of March, boosted by customers' quest for value on the high street.

Its owners tried to float or sell the business in 2007, but scrapped those plans after potential investors and bidders did not meet their near-£2bn price tag.

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