Ted Baker founder plots new venture as £211m sale of the troubled fashion brand to Reebok-owner is agreed
The exiled founder of Ted Baker is plotting a new venture in the fashion world as his brand is about to be sold to an American business for £211million.
Ray Kelvin, who set up the fashion brand in Glasgow in 1998 and still owns an 11.5 per cent stake, yesterday endorsed a cut-price takeover by Reebok owner, Authentic Brands Group (ABG).
The 110p-a-share offer – backed by the Ted Baker board – valued Kelvin’s stake at £23.3million.
Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin, who still owns an 11.5% stake, yesterday endorsed a cut-price takeover by Reebok owner, Authentic Brands Group
In a message signed off with a kiss, the 66-year-old wrote: ‘As hard as leaving Ted has been, to this day I feel the same passion for design and product to do it all again.’
The comments were a clear sign that Kelvin is planning a comeback following his controversial departure from Ted Baker.
He was ousted from the company in 2019 after more than 200 staff complained about inappropriate comments and unwanted touching, including forced hugging, cuddles, massages and ear kissing.
Since his departure, Ted Baker’s fortunes dived as the business suffered poor sales, a series of profit warnings and a £25million accounting error.
The share price, which peaked at close to 2900p in 2015, was trading at 69p in July and 93p before yesterday’s deal with ABG, which sent the stock up 16.9 per cent, or 15.7p, to 108.8p.
Kelvin said: ‘I am unsure if Ted Baker is still the company I once knew, however, I hope under new ownership it will regain its identity.’
The 110p per share deal is a lower than Juicy Couture owner ABG’s 160p-a-share offer in May.
But it is welcome relief for Ted Baker after its preferred bidder pulled its offer in June. The company had put itself up for sale in April and solicited a number of bids.
Kelvin said Ted Baker was his ‘life and soul for over 30 years’ and described its headquarters, the Ugly Brown Building in King’s Cross in London, as his ‘home’.
If the deal goes through, Ted Baker will join a stable of leading consumer and entertainment brands under the ABG umbrella including Herve Leger, Forever 21 and Sports Illustrated.
ABG, which is run by Canadian billionaire Jamie Salter, has outlined plans to split Ted Baker. It wants an intellectual property holding company to oversee the brand’s licensing operations and a separate company to manage the retail stores, ecommerce and wholesale operations.
ABG has not ruled out closing some of Ted’s Baker’s stores worldwide and decamping from King’s Cross.
Kelvin said: ‘For better or for worse, I thought of everyone I worked with as a member of my extended family and together we built something beautiful and unique.’