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Aquascutum set to change hands again

Lauretta Roberts
22 December 2016

Heritage brand Aquascutum is set to change hands again after its Hong Kong-based owner YGM Trading revealed it had entered in $120m sale agreement.

Speculation is mounting that the proposed buyer is China-based textiles group Shandong Ruyi Group, which earlier this year acquired French brand house SMCP (Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot), though this has not been confirmed.

The buyer has paid $5m for the exclusivity rights to buy the Aquascutum business and a sale, if it goes ahead, should be completed by March next year.

YGM was the brand owner for Aquascutum in Asia and acquired the global business in 2012 following its collapse into administration. At the time of the administration Aquascutum was owned by Better Capital who had acquired it from entrepreneur Harold Tillman who had bought the brand in 2009.

When YGM acquired it there was some disappointment that the brand, which was founded by Mayfair tailor John Emary in 1851, would not be bought by a British company. The brand's name literally translates as "water shield" in reference to Emary's patented waterproof wool fabric.

Along with Burberry, Aquascutum lays claim to having invented the trench coat and it was a brand favoured by royalty, politicians and Hollywood legends alike: the Queen Mother, Humphrey Bogart, Sophia Loren and Baroness Thatcher all favoured Aquascutum.

The brand currently has 146 stores and department store concessions, 96 of them in mainland China.

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