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New Look set for IPO

New Look is set to return to the stock market with a float early next year, six years after it was taken private.

The retailer, which is owned by founder Tom Singh and private equity groups Apax and Permira, is reportedly considering a £1.7bn IPO.

The retailer, which was founded in 1969, is understood to be seeking a new chairman with City experience in preparation for the listing. It is thought current chairman Phil Wrigley will leave.

Two years ago, the retailer pulled plans to go public after a proposed sale of between £1.8bn and £2bn fell through after a lukewarm response from investors.

Singh retained a 22% stake in New Look when it was bought in 2004 by Apax and Permira for £700m. Apax and Permira have since invested £400m in the business which has £1.1bn debt.

Investment banks Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Credit Suisse are thought to be in the running to advise on the potential flotation.

A source close to the retailer said that New Look may consider a float in the new year but that the retailer would focus on Christmas trading ahead of making any decision.

The retailer has recently completed the relocation of its head office to London from Weymouth in a bid to raise its profile as an international fashion retailer.


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