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LK Bennett eyes new boss

Phoenix Equity Partners is understood to have lined up Robert Bensoussan, the former chief executive of luxury footwear label Jimmy Choo, to chair LK Bennett when it completes its buyout of the company.

Last week, Phoenix entered into exclusive buyout talks with LK Bennett founder Linda Bennett, who put her business up for sale almost one year ago. The deal is expected to value the company at about £82 million.

In 2001, Phoenix and Bensoussan established Equinox Luxury Holdings, which then acquired 51% of Jimmy Choo for £9m in partnership with its founder, Tamara Mellon.

Bensoussan was credited with much of the success that followed the deal. This included expanding its retail business to about 20 shops and the launch of a spin-off handbag collection.

Bensoussan and Phoenix sold Jimmy Choo for £101m to Lion Capital in 2004. Phoenix netted £35m from the sale.

Since selling Jimmy Choo Bensoussan has bought into luxury watch brand Bremont and was also part of the group of investors that acquired premium Italian trouser brand Jeckerson for ¤140m (£111.1m) last month.

Bensoussan has also previously held roles at luxury goods groups including Christian Lacroix and Escada.

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