TowerBrook in £238m Phase Eight sale

The firm has sold the clothing business to a South African trade buyer

New York- and London-based investment firm TowerBrook Capital Partners has agreed to sell Phase Eight, an international womenswear brand, to South African retail company The Foschini Group, for an enterprise value of £238 million (€312 million, $362 million), according to a statement.

TowerBrook acquired a majority stake in 2011, when it reportedly bought the company for £80 million. It is unclear what return the firm will generate from the sale. TowerBrook did not respond to a request for comment at press time.

Phase Eight, established in 1979, operates as a retailer of clothing, footwear and accessories for women. The company has 310 stores and concessions throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland as well as 128 stores and concessions in 16 other international markets.

Phase Eight has a footprint in department stores in the countries in which it operates and has relationships with John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams in the United Kingdom. It also sells its products in international stores including Alshaya, Breuninger, de Bijenkorf, El Palacio de Hierro, Karstadt, Manor and Tangs.

Since TowerBrook’s investment in early 2011, Phase Eight has grown its network from 231 stores and concessions in the UK and Ireland to 438 stores and concessions across 18 countries, including markets such as Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Middle East, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

“We backed a very impressive management team who managed to nearly double the number of stores and concessions worldwide, growing revenues by 14 percent CAGR and increasing profitability by 40 percent,” TowerBrook Managing Director, Winston Ginsberg, said in the statement.

TowerBrook is currently investing its fourth fund, which closed on its $3.5 billion hard cap, $500 million above its original target in February 2014. With more than $8 billion under management, the firm primarily seeks control-oriented investments in large and middle-market companies.