Chinese textiles company Shandong Ruyi Technology Group has bought a minority stake in TM Lewin.
It was widely reported in July 2013 that the British shirting business was being marketed for sale through KPMG in a deal that could value it at more than £100m. This summer TM Lewin struck a deal of an undisclosed size and value with one of its key suppliers, Itochu of Japan, which also owns a stake of an unknown size in Shandong Ruyi. The latter has now also bought a stake in the UK company, the size of which has again not been disclosed.
Shandong Ruyi and TM Lewin are believed to be waiting for approval from authorities in Beijing to complete the deal. The tie-up could also be used to help the shirtmaker break into the Chinese market.
TM Lewin has 90 UK stores and is the latest business to attract interest from a Chinese company, after Sanpower completed a deal to buy House of Fraser on September 2.
Earlier this year Shandong Ruyi bought an 80% stake in Huddersfield-based worsted fabric specialist Taylor & Lodge, and has part-owned Harris Tweed manufacturer Carloway Mill since 2013.
Itochu is one of Japan’s largest general trading firms and owns men’s tailoring business Chester Barrie and a large stake in designer label Paul Smith.
TM Lewin declined to comment. Itochu, Shandong Ruyi and KPMG did not respond to requests for comment.