Barclays back in fashion

Barclays Private Equity, the European mid-market firm, has acquired Phase Eight three months after its sale of Hobbs, another company in the UK women's fashion retail sector.

Barclays Private Equity has backed the management buyout of UK women's fashion retailer Phase Eight in a deal worth £27 million (€39 million, $51 million). The firm will own a 72 percent stake, and the company's management, led by CEO Joy Walters, will hold the remainder.
 
Phase Eight was founded in 1979 with a £3,000 investment from designer Patsy Seddon and her partner Peter Urquhart, with the aim of providing designer clothes for suburban women. The chain now includes 90 stores with more planned, and has a forecast turnover of £30 million for the year ending January 2005. The founders will receive £13 million for their stake.
 
PricewaterhouseCoopers and Addleshaw Goddard advised Barclays on the transaction. Debt funding was arranged bythe retail and wholesale team at Barclays Leveraged Finance.
 
Barclays Private Equity operates seven offices in the UK, France, Germany and Italy. Its UK focus is on consumer and travel, financial services and healthcare.
 
In November 2004, the firm sold Hobbs, another women's fashion chain, to 3i for £111 million.