Brunswick set to handle LK Bennett investors job

LK Bennett, the fashion chain started ten years ago by Linda Bennett, has drafted in Brunswick to handle a financial comms push to attract buyers for the company.

Brunswick partner Tom Buchanan and senior associate Will Cullum are advising the firm and handling media coverage of the review led by financial adviser BDO Stoy Hayward.

Although a sale of the LK Bennett business is a possible outcome of the review, the move is being pitched to the media as a search for outside investors in the upmarket shoe and fashion chain.

LK Bennett is looking for both trade buyers to buy the business outright and venture capital investors who might also acquire the company but could be content with investing in a smaller stake.

BDO’s sales pitch is highlighting the strength of the 50-store chain and the scarcity of high-end fashion brand companies like LK Bennett.

Plans for more stores in the UK and a sale of the brand overseas are also being pushed. LK Bennett intends to export its brand to America, the Far East and Continental Europe where it already has one store in Paris.

Linda Bennett set up LK Bennett in 1990 with a bank loan of just £15,000. The company now has a turnover of around £50m and operating profits of around £7m. If sold outright the price tag for LK Bennett could be as much as £75m.

Around 20 private equity firms and fashion companies are reported to be interested in buying the company.

Names in the frame to buy LK Bennett are private equity firms 3i, CVC Capital and West Coast Capital, as well as Icelandic retail investor Baugur.

The sale of LK Bennett follows that of Mark One to Baugur and Hobbs to VC giant 3i. Last week, Hicks Muse bought a majority stake in Jimmy Choo, valuing the upmarket shoe brand at £101m.

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