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Owner Of Fashion Brand Bench Sold To Investment Company

The owner of fashion brand Bench has been sold to an investment company whose portfolio includes the likes of The Cotswold Company and bike brand Ribble.

London-based True Capital has acquired Apparel Brands in Manchester, newly-filed documents with Companies House have revealed.

As well as Bench, Apparel Brands owns Nicce and Hooch while it has licences to sell Smith & Jones, Ed Hardy, Farah, Seafolly, Money and Caterpillar.

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Established in 2017, Apparel Brands is headquartered in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

US investment giant Gordon Brothers sold Bench to Wraith, an affiliate of Apparel Brands, in April 2020. The deal excluded the right to use the brand in the Americas.

Gordon Brothers had acquired Bench in July 2018 after the company entered administration two months earlier.

Filings with Companies House show that Garm Bidco Ltd has replaced Baker Street Holdings as having significant control of Apparel Brands.

Garm Bidco Ltd’s sole director is Ejike Onuchukwu, a director at True Capital. According to Companies House, the business holds at least 75% of the shares in Apparel Brands.

The rest are held by Omp Brandco Limited whose only director is Apparel Brands director Peter Wood.

Amarjit Singh Grewal, a co-owner of French Connection, has also stepped down as a director following the deal. He is the only director of Baker Street Holdings.

More details about True Capital’s plans for Apparel Brands are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

True Capital and Apparel Brands were unavailable for comment when approached by BusinessLive.

Bench was founded in Manchester in 1989 by Nayef Marar and Barrie Suddons.

Having gained fame after its clothes were worn by the likes of Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher, the brand was acquired in 2004 by its management for £20m.

Venture capital firm ISIS Equity Partners backed the deal to the tune of £6.4m in return for a 36% stake.

In 2014, Bench’s owner Ardwick-based Americana International was acquired by German private equity house Emeram Capital for an undisclosed sum.

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