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Next Lebanese PM closes in on AllSaints deal

AllSaints is close to being bought by surprise suitor M1, a Beirut-based business co-founded by the likely next Lebanese Prime Minister, in partnership with Richard Sharp, the former head of Goldman Sachs’ private equity firm. A deal could be finalised as early as Monday.

According to reports Richard Sharp, the former head of Goldman Sachs’ private equity business has joined with M1 Group, a Beirut-based business co-founded by Najib Mikati, the likely next prime minister of Lebanon, to launch a takeover of the company. The proposed deal could value AllSaints at between £250m and £300m. Chairman Kevin Stanford will likely hold onto just under 50% of the equity.

Sharp and M1 are understood to be in talks to take over the business after it emerged earlier this month that it was seeking additional funding and that its Icelandic backers were willing to offload their stake.

It is believed that if the bid is successful the new owners – who will inject £100m in return for their stake – will continue AllSaints’ overseas expansion, which has continued apace in the US, and drive online sales.This is largely the strategy already in place, with AllSaints opening major global flagships in a bid to build brand awareness and drive shoppers to its website.

There are a number of other prospective bidders should the M1 and Sharp deal fall through. Advent International, Goode Partners, Towerbrook Capital Partners and US retailer Urban Outfitters have all been named as having run a slide rule over the business.

M1 owns assets worth about $6bn. It has a fashion division, M1 Fashion, which owns French chain Faconnable.

If the deal is successful it is thought that Sharp and Maher Mikati, a senior Faconnable executive and son of the M1 founder, will join the board of AllSaints.

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