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Ben Sherman rescued by PE

Loss-making menswear retailer Ben Sherman has been bought by a private equity investor.

US-based Marquee Brands has paid a mere £40.8 million for the business which it considers still has potential, despite its troubled state.

“Ben Sherman remains a uniquely classic British brand with a loyal following across five continents and a smartness that’s ageless. Its heritage, style and authenticity fits perfectly within Marquee’s growing portfolio,” said Cory M. Baker, COO of Marquee Brands.

“We are particularly excited about this transaction as Ben Sherman is consistent with our mission to acquire high quality brands with substantial global growth potential,” added Michael DeVirgilio, president of Marquee Brands in a statement.

“The current management team under Oxford’s leadership has done a great job building on the core essence of the brand. We’ve received supportive messages from retailers across the globe that share our view of the growth opportunity ahead.”

Ben Sherman, established back in 1963, is Marquee Brands’ second acquisition this year, after Italian luxury brand Bruno Magli.

Marquee considers its recent acquisitions as building “a glowing portfolio of relevant, storied brands with rich history and a global footprint”.

“Our plans to market and promote the brand across various lifestyle categories are well underway with new products and expanded retail coming to market as early as first quarter, 2016,” Marquee said in its statement.

The brand has had a chequered history over the last 30 years. The last time it changed hands, after two successive management buyouts, was in 2004 when Atlanta-based Oxford Industries paid 3i and Irish PE investor Enterprise Equity about £80 million for the business.

The brand made a failed foray into womens fashion and childrenswear in the 2000s, axed by Oxford in 2010.

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