New Look high street chain and fashion retailer has been bought by Christo Wiese, a South African industrialist for £780 million.
Brait an investment Christo Wiese, has bought a 90% stake in the budget fashion chain. The other 10% still belongs to the family of Tom Singh, who founded New Look in 1969, and other senior management.
New Look, which has more than 800 stores in 21 countries, is being sold by private equity firms Apax and Permira. The New Look began in 1969 as a single fashion store in the UK. It has grown to become a leading fast-fashion brand, with 569 stores in the UK and over 200 across Europe, China, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Their transactional website newlook.com now ships to over 120 countries world-wide generating 10% of revenues.
Mr Wiese has been linked with a string of UK retail takeovers in recent years, including a bid for department chain BhS, formerly owned by Sir Philip Green. One of his other investment vehicles, Pepkor, is launching a new discount fashion chain in the UK called Pep & Co with Andy Bond, the former Asda chief executive.
Christo Wiese is the third-richest South African and worth almost $7bn, according to Forbes. Christo Wiese started his career in the legal profession before buying Shoprite. It is now Africa’s largest food retailer, operating in 15 countries including South Africa, Nigeria and Angola.
The company has also invested in South Africa’s Premier Foods, the biggest maker of local staples such as maize meal and bread.