Africa’s leading retail magnate, Christoffel Wiese is gunning for the top echelon of the United Kingdom’s retail space by acquiring 90 percent stake in British fashion retailer New Look. Wiese’s majority-owned private equity firm, Brait, said it will pay £780 million ($1.23 billion) for the stake in New Look.
“Brait will fund the purchase consideration using facilities and cash on hand,” the company said in a statement. The British retailer, owned by private equity groups Apax and Permira as well as founder Tom Singh, has 600 stores spread across the UK and Ireland. It also trades from 200 other stores across Europe, China, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Singh, who controls 22 percent of the company, will make £200m from the deal, along with his family and the existing management team. They will, however, reinvest a significant portion of their earnings for a 10 percent stake.
With the new deal, Wiese whose firm has been investing heavily in UK brands over the past five years, will have to contend with dominant retail players, including the Weston family, who control clothing retailer, Primark. He will also go head-to-head with Sports Direct chief, Mike Ashley, who also owns Newcastle Football Club.
Wiese isn’t keen to shy away from a fight, infact he revels in them. Last month, he bought nearly 80 percent of Virgin Active health clubs and has partnered with former Asda chief executive Andy Bond, to launch Pep & Co, a discount family fashion chain. All these have come in the face of increased competition within the UK retail space.