Brait Acquires UK Retailer New Look
South Africa's Brait to pay £780m for control of fashion retailer New Look Reuters

South African investment house Brait has agreed to pay £780m (€1.08bn, $1.23bn) for a controlling stake in British fashion retailer New Look.

Brait said that it will buy a 90% stake in New Look, and that the deal pegs the retailer's enterprise value at £1.9bn.

New Look, owned by private equity groups Apax and Permira as well as founder Tom Singh, operates 600 stores in the UK and Ireland and trades from a further 200 across Europe, China, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Brait said in a statement: "Brait will fund the purchase consideration using facilities and cash on hand."

New Look said in a statement that Brait will acquire the stake "primarily from funds advised by Apax Partners and Permira .

"The Singh family interests and the current management of the company will acquire the remaining 10% of the company."

Explaining the rationale behind its buyout, Brait said it was attracted to New Look because the retailer has "demonstrated double digit EBITDA growth in recent years; [has an] established UK footprint exposed to the higher growth value segment of the apparel and accessories market; [and has] strong growth prospects in France, Germany, Poland and especially China which is a priority market..."

A team at Altium Capital, led by chief executive Phil Adams, advised New Look founder Singh on the deal.

In April, Brait picked up an 80% controlling stake in Virgin Active for $1bn, seeking to tap the growing health-conscious middle classes, particularly in Asia and Africa.

In February, New Look CEO Anders Kristiansen said the firm was ready for a stock market flotation, though that decision was up to the owners.

New Look ditched a planned stock market listing in 2010 amid market volatility.