Cath Kidston up for sale two years after collapse cost 900 jobs

Business

Cath Kidston, the modern vintage brand, has been put up for sale just two years after collapsing into administration with the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs.

Sky News has learnt that Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA) has instructed advisers at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to find a new owner for the now wholesale-led company.

Cath Kidston, which was established by its eponymous founder in 1993, became a high street fixture with scores of standalone shops.

Its fortunes were hit by the pandemic, however, forcing it into administration in April 2020.

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BPEA, which took full control of Cath Kidston in 2016, struck a pre-pack insolvency deal which entailed the closure of its entire high street estate.

It does retain fewer than a handful of stores in Saudi Arabia.

City sources said that PwC had been engaged with prospective buyers for a number of weeks, although their identities were unclear on Friday.

Known for its floral and polka dot designs, Cath Kidston has been run for the last four years by Melinda Paraie, who joined as chief executive from luxury goods brand Coach in 2018.

It expanded from a single shop in West London selling car boot finds and vintage fabric into a business offering fashion, homewares and accessories.

The chain made a fortune for its founder when she sold a stake to private equity firm TA Associates about 12 years ago in a deal reportedly worth £100m.

In 2014, Baring Private Equity Asia became a substantial shareholder.

Neither Cath Kidston nor BPEA responded to a series of requests for comment, while PwC declined to comment.

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