US licence partner OSL eyes Ted Baker’s UK arm | Business News

Business

Ted Baker’s American licensing partner is a leading contender to take control of the fashion brand’s British operation weeks after it collapsed into administration.

Sky News has learnt that OSL, which was appointed to run Ted Baker’s US retail business just over a year ago, is a frontrunner to take over the European business, which includes dozens of UK shops.

The news comes two days after administrators at Teneo confirmed that 15 Ted Baker stores in the UK would close permanently with the loss of more than 200 jobs.

The closures are understood to have been necessary in order to assist the administrators in salvaging a future for the remainder of the business.

Last month, No Ordinary Designer Label, the existing UK licensing partner owned by Dutch company AARC, collapsed, leaving Authentic Brands Group facing a choice about a replacement.

The Times reported on Wednesday that Next and Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group had also made contact with Teneo about taking on the UK arm.

It is understood that both remain in contention for a deal.

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The latest turbulence comes roughly 18 months after Ted Baker delisted from the London stock market after being bought by ABG for about £210m.

Ted Baker continues to trade during the insolvency process.

The retailer’s torrid period began in 2019 when founder Ray Kelvin left amid claims of inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues.

It was subsequently forced to issue a string of profit warnings and disclose accounting mishaps, and had to address the COVID-19 pandemic from a position of financial weakness.

In 2020, it axed hundreds of jobs and raised £100m to shore up its balance sheet.

At the time of Teneo’s appointment, ABG’s chief strategy and transition officer, John McNamara, said: “Despite our tireless efforts, the damage done during a period under AARC in which NODL built up a significant level of arrears was too much to overcome.

“We remain focused on securing a new partner to uphold and grow the Ted Baker brand in the UK and Europe where it began.”

OSL could not be reached for comment, while Teneo declined to comment.

Read original article here.

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