Belfast Telegraph

French Connection shares rise by more than fifth after takeover interest reports

Shares in troubled fashion retailer French Connection leapt more than a fifth following reports that it is being eyed for a takeover.

The firm has come on to the radar of overseas investors and private equity firms amid speculation that its founder and chief executive Stephen Marks could be heading for the exit door, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

The clothing and homeware brand is said to have drawn interest from US firm Neuberger Berman, while the retailer has also sought advice from investment boutique Moelis.

Mr Marks, who launched the business 44 years ago and holds a 41% stake in the firm, has struggled to revive French Connection's fortunes following the rise of fast-fashion brands such as ASOS and Zara.

In September, French Connection recorded a pre-tax loss £7.9 million, with total revenue sliding 8.7% to £69.2 million.

The speculation comes after Burberry announced last week that UK sales had rocketed thanks to the Brexit-hit pound, which had sparked a luxury shopping spree from tourists.

The group said UK like-for-like sales raced more than 30% in the three months to September 30, with s hoppers from China and the United States travelling to the UK to hit the shops.

Burberry was the subject of takeover talks on Friday when financial blog Betaville said US luxury bag maker Coach was working with investment bank Evercore to thrash out a deal for the firm.

French Connection later pared gains on in the session to trade up 9%.

US and Asian companies are said to be ramping up their interest in British firms as they look to capitalise on sterling's collapse following the EU referendum result.