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Bregal Freshstream close to acquiring Radley

Private equity firm Bregal Freshstream is the frontrunner to acquire British handbag and accessories brand Radley, sources have told Drapers.

Bregal Freshstream was founded as a UK and Benelux-focused fund last year and is backed by Bregal Investments, which is the private equity investment business of Cofra Holding, a European holding company for a privately-owned group of companies, which includes European clothing retailer C&A.

Freshstream is aiming to make investments of between €30m (£23.2m) and €100m (£77.5m), according to its website.

Radley was established in London in 1998 and is the bestselling British handbag brand in John Lewis and House of Fraser. For the year ended April 30 2015, sales rose 2.8% to £64.4m and EBITDA increased 27% to £6m.

Founder Lowell Harder told Drapers in December last year that she plans to retire at a later date and Natalie Bolton, Radley’s design director is her “exit strategy”.

In May last year, chairman Justin Stead joined as chief executive, followed by former Timex president Alan Stone-Wigg, who was appointed to the newly created chief operating officer role in October and began leading the brand’s retail, ecommerce, wholesale and international divisions from this January.

Radley has been owned by Exponent Private Equity, Phoenix Equity Partners and the company’s management team since 2007.

As of December last year, it had 33 UK stores, 13 shop-in-shops in Karstadt department stores in Germany, and three standalone stores in Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is also sold in 34 John Lewis stores on a concession basis, 58 House of Frasers through wholesale, seven Fenwicks and 82 other department stores nationwide, as well as 180 independents.

Both Bregal Freshstream and Radley declined to comment.


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