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UPDATE 1-UK fashion brand Cath Kidston looks to expand with Baring Asia takeover
October 3, 2016 / 4:16 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-UK fashion brand Cath Kidston looks to expand with Baring Asia takeover

(Adds details on shareholdings, expansion, comment by CEO)

LONDON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Cath Kidston, the British homewares and fashion brand known for vintage-inspired floral prints, has set its sights on further expansion abroad, it said on Monday in announcing its takeover by private equity firm Baring Asia and the appointment of former Gucci boss William Flanz as chairman.

Cath Kidston said Baring, one of the largest private equity groups in Asia and already a big shareholder, has bought the remaining stake held by TA Associates, the U.S. private equity firm which sold half its 80 percent stake to Baring Asia in 2014.

The two firms did not reveal the price of the latest deal.

Cath Kidston has 226 stores, with 70 percent located outside of Britain.

“We believe the Cath Kidston brand and business have great potential to grow across the globe, and are committed to delivering on that potential and securing the longer-term success of the company,” Flanz, a senior adviser to Baring Asia, said in a statement.

Cath Kidston Chief Executive Kenny Wilson said Baring has already proved invaluable in helping develop the brand in Asia, increasing its presence from 91 to 133 Asian stores since Baring bought into the company two years ago.

The label, seen as quintessentially British, began as a small shop in the upmarket area of Holland Park in London where Kidston sold homewares and clothing made from vintage fabrics.

Kidston took inspiration from her rural English upbringing to create whimsical flowery prints which proved wildly popular in Asia, with queues around the block at her first Tokyo shop opening in 2006.

Japan is now the brand’s second biggest market, and it has plans to launch in Latin America and India.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the acquisition takes Baring’s stake to 80 percent, while founder Cath Kidston herself owns 11 percent and senior management 9 percent.

Baring manages about $10 billion in assets and has stakes in 35 companies focused on Asia. (Reporting by Helen Reid; editing by Kate Holton, Greg Mahlich)

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