Hilco eyes swoop for modern vintage lifestyle brand Cath Kidston

Business

Hilco, the specialist retail investor, is closing in on a takeover of Cath Kidston, the modern vintage brand recently put up for sale by the owner which bought it out of administration just two years ago.

Sky News has learnt that Hilco, which has owned an array of prominent high street names over the last two decades, has been holding detailed talks about buying Cath Kidston from Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA).

It was unclear on Tuesday night whether other potential buyers remained in contention to gatecrash the deal, although one source suggested it was effectively Hilco’s to lose.

The proposed transaction is said to be a solvent one, although further details were unclear.

Cath Kidston collapsed into administration in 2020 with the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs.

BPEA recently instructed advisers at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to find a new owner for the now wholesale-led company.

Cath Kidston, which was established by its eponymous founder in 1993, became a high street fixture with scores of standalone shops.

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Its fortunes were hit by the pandemic, however, forcing it into administration in April 2020.

BPEA, which took full control of Cath Kidston in 2016, struck a pre-pack insolvency deal which entailed the closure of its entire UK high street estate.

It still has fewer than a handful of stores in Saudi Arabia.

Known for its floral and polka dot designs, Cath Kidston has been run for the last four years by Melinda Paraie, who joined as chief executive from luxury goods brand Coach in 2018.

It expanded from a single shop in West London selling car boot finds and vintage fabric into a business offering fashion, homewares and accessories.

The chain made a fortune for its founder when she sold a stake to private equity firm TA Associates about 12 years ago in a deal reportedly worth £100m.

In 2014, Baring Private Equity Asia became a substantial shareholder.

Hilco could not be reached for comment.

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