Phase Eight owner The Foschini Group has acquired a substantial majority shareholding in Whistles for an undisclosed sum.
South African retailer Foschini has more than 2,700 stores and 20 retail brands spanning clothing, lifestyle, jewellery, accessories, sporting goods and homewares.
It bought 85% of Poppy Holdco Ltd, which trades as Phase Eight, for around £140m in January 2015.
The deal is expected to provide investment for Whistles, as well as opportunities for the brand to continue to further develop its online presence, grow its retail portfolio and accelerate international expansion plans.
Chief executive Jane Shepherdson said: “We very much look forward to working with the Foschini team to continue to build on the success of Whistles and take it to the next stage of its evolution.”
“Whistles is a brand that we have long admired, and for which we believe there is a significant global opportunity for growth,” added Foschini chief executive Doug Murray. “We look forward to working with the team to further develop the brand.”
Whistles opened its first men’s standalone store in east London today. It has 46 stores in the UK and is stocked in department stores including Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and Bloomingdale’s in the US. It also sells online.
Foschini is the latest South African company to snap up a British retailer, following a wave of deals.
Last year Brait, the investment vehicle controlled by South Africa’s richest man, Christo Wiese, bought New Look in a £1.9bn deal, while Truworths acquired footwear business Office for £256m.