River Island family takes control of Mint Velvet in £100m deal | Business

The family behind the River Island clothing chain has taken control of Mint Velvet, the fashion label founded by three former Principles executives, in a deal understood to value the company in excess of £100m.

The co-founders Peter Davies, Liz Houghton and Lisa Agar-Rea will share a multimillion-pound payout from the deal with the Lewis Trust Group (LTG).

It is a second fashion fortune for Davies, who previously rescued and sold Principles and Warehouse, making nearly £40m in three years.

LTG, which also owns stakes in the Everyman cinema chain and the San Francisco-based fast fashion label Dolls Kill, first bought a stake in Mint Velvet in 2015. It is understood to have exercised an option to take control of the company last week.

Mint Velvet, which specialises in “relaxed glamour” for the over 30s, was started from Houghton’s kitchen table in 2009 and launched with concessions in House of Fraser.

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A spokesperson for the Lewis family said: “This investment reflects high confidence in the business, brand and people. The business continues to be run independently by founders Liz Houghton and Lisa Agar-Rea, who remain invested.”

In the year to April 2018, sales for Sabre Retail Fashion, Mint Velvet’s parent company, rose 15.5% to £101m as it traded from 165 locations including 40 standalone boutiques. Pretax profits rose by just over 8% to £13.5m.

The business took a hit last year when House of Fraser collapsed into administration owing Mint Velvet more than £2.5m. The department store chain was the bought by Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, but Mint Velvet has since closed about 10 of its 40 House of Fraser concessions.

Mint Velvet has won new investment as a string of other brands that lost out from the collapse of House of Fraser have come under pressure.

Coast was acquired by a sister company after a pre-pack administration, LK Bennett fell into administration and Pretty Green is teetering on the brink of administration as it seeks a rescue deal.

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