Sports Direct has bought an 11% stake in high street chain French Connection.
The sportswear retailer has added the struggling fashion chain to its retail and brand portfolio which includes stakes in Debenhams and agency Four Marketing.
The news follows French Connection shareholder Schroders selling its entire 9.27% stake in the retailer.
Founder Stephen Marks is still the largest shareholder with a 42% stake in the business.
In a statement French Connection said: “We note that Sports Direct has taken long-term significant stakes in a number of British retailers in recent years, and see this investment as a vote of confidence in the true potential of our company. We look forward to working with them more in the future”
Last week, French Connection shareholders Gatemore, OTK Holding and Zoar Invest wrote to French Connection chairman and chief executive Stephen Marks to demand that non-executive directors Dean Murray and Claire Kent leave the board after overseeing a “tremendous decline in value of the company”.
It came after Gatemore expressed fears in an open letter to Marks last August, urging the business to accelerate store closures, reduce its product range and ditch its “FCUK” logo.
Marks is thought to have replied to the investors’ more recent letter to indicate that the two directors will soon step down.
In its most recent financial results French Connection’s like-for-like retail sales grew 6.5% in the six months to 31 July, but “tougher trading” in wholesale and licensing led to losses of £7.9m, flat on the same period last year.