| 8.7°C Belfast

Clothes retailer Republic bought by equity firm for £300m

High street fashion chain Republic — which has just opened a new superstore in the centre of Belfast — has been snapped up by a private equity firm for £300m, it has been reported.

TPG has bought the group, which has 103 outlets across the UK, from Change Capital Partners, the investment vehicle run by former Marks & Spencer bosses Luc Vandevelde and Roger Holmes, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The deal represents a significant return for Change Capital, which became a majority shareholder in Republic when it backed a £105m management buy-out of the firm in October 2005.

Republic recently opened its first store in Belfast’s Royal Avenue as part of a drive to double its turnover in three years.

The store is one of 12 it planned to open across the UK during 2010, creating 500 new jobs.

Republic's co-founders, Tim Whitworth and Carl Brewins, are also thought to have received multi-million pound windfalls from the sale.

However, the pair, who retained a 40% stake in Republic following the Change Capital deal, are understood to have reinvested significantly in the chain following the latest change of ownership.

Republic sells fashion brands aimed at a younger clientele, such as Diesel, Miss Sixty and G-Star.

It was put up for sale by Change Capital in April, and had sales of around £200m last year.

Belfast Telegraph