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Baring Asia acquires 'significant' stake in Cath Kidston

TA Associates has sold “a significant” stake in lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston to private equity firm Baring Asia in what is thought to be a multi-million pound deal.

Baring Asia has also acquired an undisclosed chunk of the remaining 35% stake owned by Cath Kidston’s eponymous designer and management, resulting in the private equity firm having equal ownership with TA.

Although a spokeswoman declined to discuss figures, she said the value of the investment was “significant”. Reports have previously valued the company at £250m.

TA Associates bought its 65% stake in 2010, in a deal thought to value the business at £100m.

TA Associates has been attempting to offload the business for some months, with reports suggesting Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing had been in discussion about a takeover at one stage.

The Baring Asia investment will be used to drive Cath Kidston’s growth in Asia, particularly in China.

The retailer has stores in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. It has 100 international stores, and a further 66 in the UK.

Chief executive Kenny Wilson said:  “Finding the right partner to help us manage the development of the Cath Kidston brand in Asia, and in particular to exploit its potential in China, was a key consideration for us. Baring Asia’s support and operational experience will be invaluable as we expand further in the region.

“With the continuing support of TA Associates we now have an even greater opportunity to build on the enormous appeal of the Cath Kidston brand internationally. This is an extremely exciting time for the company.”

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