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Brait to Buy UK’s New Look for £780 Million

Brait SE agreed to purchase about 90 percent of New Look Group Ltd., the UK’s second-biggest retailer of women’s clothing, for about 780 million pounds ($1.2 billion).
New Look store | Source: Shutterstock
By
  • Bloomberg

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Brait SE, the South African investment company that bought a controlling stake in Virgin Active gym chain last month, agreed to purchase about 90 percent of New Look Group Ltd., the U.K.'s second-biggest retailer of women's clothing, for about 780 million pounds ($1.2 billion).

The company will fund the purchase using facilities and cash on hand, San Gwann, Malta-based Brait said in a statement Friday. The transaction isn’t subject to regulatory approvals and is due for completion on June 25, it said.

New Look said in February it’s equipped for an initial public offering amid renewed speculation that its private-equity holders are seeking an exit. Apax Partners and Permira Advisers, which backed a 2004 buyout of the fashion chain, had been with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to seek new investors, people with knowledge of the matter said that month.

New Look “is attractive” because the retailer has strong growth prospects in France, Germany, Poland and China, and has “a well-developed multi-channel offering via traditional stores and a fast-growing e-commerce platform,” Brait said in the statement.

Brait’s largest shareholder, billionaire Christo Wiese, said last month the investment company had a further $2 billion to spend on deals after it bought 80 percent of Virgin Active.

By Janice Kew, with assistance from Jillian Ward and Chris Spillane. Editors: Matthew Boyle, Ana Monteiro, Hilton Shone.

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