Baring Asia acquires control of Cath Kidston Group

Asian expansion continues to be a strategic priority.

Paul Mason steps down as Chairman and replaced by William Flanz, former Chairman and CEO of Gucci Group.

Cath Kidston Group Limited (“Cath Kidston Group”), the global lifestyle brand, announces that its shareholder Baring Private Equity Asia (“Baring Asia”) has acquired the equity stake of TA Associates, the US private equity company, becoming the controlling majority shareholder.

Baring Asia has been a shareholder in Cath Kidston Group since July 2014 when it acquired a minority stake from TA Associates. Baring Asia is one of the largest and most established independent private equity firms in Asia. Successful expansion across Asia has been a key strategic priority for Cath Kidston Group for some years and Baring Asia’s expertise in the region was, and continues to be, a prime attraction for the group.

Cath Kidston Group products are now sold in 15 countries across Asia and the Middle East, with 70% of Cath Kidston Group’s 226 stores today located outside of the UK. Since Baring Asia’s initial investment in 2014, the number of Asian stores has increased from 91 to 133. Its first stores in India are set to open in early Autumn 2016 with an initial two stores in Delhi, and store openings in Mumbai to follow.

William Flanz, Senior Advisor to Baring Asia since 2003 and ex- Chairman and CEO of Gucci Group, N.V., will become Chairman of Cath Kidston Group and will replace Paul Mason who is stepping down as Chairman after six years in the role.

TA Associates, which first invested in Cath Kidston Group in 2010, will no longer hold a shareholding in Cath Kidston.

Commenting on the news, Kenny Wilson, Cath Kidston’s CEO, said:

“We are entering a really exciting new stage under a single owner. Baring Asia’s decision to increase its shareholding is a fantastic endorsement of the potential of the Cath Kidston brand and I would like to welcome Bill Flanz. When Baring first invested just over two years ago we said we wanted to find the right partner to help us manage the development of the brand in Asia and exploit its full potential, and Baring has been invaluable in helping us do this. TA Associates has been a long and trusted partner since 2010. Paul Mason recruited me to Cath Kidston and was instrumental in why I took the job as CEO. Paul has been with us every step of the way in an exciting journey where the business has grown rapidly in the UK and overseas. I would like to thank him for everything he has done for Cath Kidston and his support in transforming it into a truly global business.

“This year has been our most successful start to the year, proving the strength of our product and the continued and growing appeal of the brand to existing and new customers. As well as expanding internationally, we continue to innovate as demonstrated by our new collaboration with Disney, which lands in stores this month. We are very excited about the future.”

William Flanz, Cath Kidston Group’s incoming Chairman said: “We are delighted to begin a new chapter with Cath Kidston by acquiring a controlling stake in the business. Paul and TA Associates have provided great support to the Company over the years. Their input has been very valuable and we have truly enjoyed the partnership since our initial investment, but are now looking forward to driving the company forward as the majority owner. 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.”

Paul Mason, Cath Kidston’s outgoing Chairman said:

“I have enjoyed six great years helping to build a fantastic team and turn Cath Kidston into a successful international business. When I joined, Cath Kidston had only six stores outside the UK. Today it has over 200 stores around the world, Japan is its second biggest market, it is entering India and working on launching into Latin America. We have recruited some of the best names in global retail to the Cath Kidston management team. I have enjoyed my time at the company immensely and wish the business the very best for the future”.

Media enquiries:
Cath Kidston
Xenia Xenophontos
+44 (0) 7730 529 228

Rebecca Mitchell
+44 (0)207 379 5151

Baring Private Equity Asia
Richard Barton (Newgate Communications)
+852 9301 2056

Notes to Editors

William Flanz Biography

William Flanz is a Senior Advisor, Member of the Investment and Portfolio Management Committees at Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA). He has been working with BPEA since 2003. Mr. Flanz began his career with 19 years at Chase Manhattan Bank N. A., where his last position was Area Director, responsible for all of Chase’s activities in Asia Pacific. Mr. Flanz was a founding partner of the private equity firm, Prudential Asia Investments Limited, and subsequently was a member of the Management Committee of London-based private equity firm, Investcorp International Limited. He then served as Chairman and CEO of Gucci Group, N.V., prior to returning to Hong Kong from Italy in 1996, following Gucci’s successful turnaround and IPO. Mr. Flanz is a Trustee and Member of the Executive Council of the World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong.

Paul Mason Biography

Paul Mason is a former CEO of Asda, Matalan and Somerfield. He is currently non-executive Chairman of footwear brand Dr Martens, a role he was appointed to in September 2015. He is a former non-executive Chairman of New Look, Mayborn Group and Radley. Paul was EMEA President of Levi Strauss.

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