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Phoenix, Sirius team to develop LK Bennett fashion brand

Jul '08
Phoenix Equity Partners, the leading UK mid-market private equity investor, and Sirius Equity, the retail and branded luxury goods investment specialist, announce that they have agreed to invest in LK Bennett, the quintessentially English premium fashion brand.

Phoenix and Sirius will work in partnership with Linda Bennett, the Company's founder, to support LK Bennett's continued growth. As part of the transaction, Robert Bensoussan, co-founder of Sirius, will join LK Bennett as Chairman. Linda Bennett will remain as a non-executive director and a substantial shareholder of the business.

Since Linda Bennett opened her first store in Wimbledon in 1990, LK Bennett has established itself as a leading brand in the UK women's premium fashion market, expanding from shoes into clothing and accessories. LK Bennett has grown rapidly and profitably, doubling the size of its store portfolio over the last two years to a total of 90 stores and concessions throughout the UK.

Phoenix and Sirius will work with the existing management team to continue to develop LK Bennett by opening new stores and concessions in the UK, establishing a retail presence overseas, developing the product range and exploring licensing opportunities.

Phoenix and Robert Bensoussan have invested and worked in partnership together successfully in developing two other branded consumer businesses, Jimmy Choo and Radley. Under Phoenix's and Robert Bensoussan's control, Jimmy Choo was transformed from a small iconic shoe business into an international luxury shoe and accessories brand. Phoenix and Robert Bensoussan worked in partnership again more recently to assist with the development of Radley into the UK's largest handbag and accessories business.

The investment in LK Bennett is the tenth investment from Phoenix's £375 million fund and is Sirius's second investment since its own foundation earlier this year.

Commenting on today's announcement, Robert Bensoussan, Chairman of LK Bennett and co-founder of Sirius Equity, said: “LK Bennett has developed an incredibly strong brand through the hard work of Linda and her team over many years. We believe there is an exciting opportunity to develop the business and the brand further and we are excited about the opportunity to help the Company realise its fantastic potential.”

David Burns, Partner at Phoenix, added: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Robert Bensoussan again and to invest alongside Linda Bennett in LK Bennett. We are confident that there is significant potential to continue to expand the business rapidly.”

Linda Bennett, of LK Bennett said: “Phoenix and Sirius have proven their ability to work together successfully in the past and their track record in growing, supporting and developing UK based branded consumer businesses was a critical factor in my decision to work with them. I am confident that Phoenix and Sirius are the right partners to support LK Bennett's continued development and future growth plans.”

LK Bennett

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