Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) has received approaches from potential buyers for its heritage fashion brands which include Jaeger, Jacques Vert and Austin Reed.
It is understood the approaches were unsolicited and have come from a number of “international investors”, including at least one in China, attracted by the brands’ long histories and heritage.
As a result retail tycoon Philip Day, who heads the EWM group, has appointed FRP Advisory to look into the approaches but has said that he is not necessarily interested in selling any or all of the businesses, and nor is he interested in selling a stake in the wider EWM group.
Day has built up his empire, which also includes value brands Peacocks and Bonmarche, by buying brands out of administration. It is understood, however, that any sale of the group’s brands would be made on a solvent basis.
He acquired Austin Reed in 2016 with Jaeger added a year later; Jaeger had previously been owned by Jon Moulton’s Better Capital and before that entrepreneur Harold Tillman. Jacques Vert was added to the group 2018 as part of the acquisition of the Calveton Brands stable that also included Windsmoor, Eastex and Dash.
Austin Reed can trace its roots back to 1900 (it was founded by Austin Leonard Reed (great grandfather of Asos founder Nick Robertson), while Jaeger was founded in 1884. Jacques Vert was established in 1972.