Fast Retailing

It’s interesting, in all the breathless reports about Fast Retailing’s maybe-possibly-hope-so acquisition of J Crew, Andrew Rosen has not really figured. It’s all about Fast’s chairman, Tadashi Yanai, and his desire to acquire, along with the accessible luxury brand, its CEO, Millard “Mickey” Drexler (though presumably creative director Jenna Lyons is also a plus). Yet Mr Rosen, who is a group senior vice-president of Fast Retailing, and instrumental in their US operation, being the CEO of Theory and Helmut Lang (which Fast bought fully in 2009), happens to be very, VERY (I could say that again, but won’t, because I think you get the point) good friends with Mr Drexler. See where I’m going with this? Read more

Despite all the lip service paid to potential of the contemporary market – despite J Crew’s expansion into Europe and Asia, and Tory Burch’s $2bn valuation; despite all the private equity interest in the sector, which has seen KKR buy Sandro and Maje, and General Atlantic put its money in Burch as well as TPG and LGP lead the charge by taking J Crew private – I find it striking that no one has yet attempted to put a bunch of these together and create a group, as are so ubiquitous in luxury, to leverage synergies and create a power structure.

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The news that LA-based private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners may take a 25% stake in Topshop and Topman has the high street all aflutter, largely because of the billion plus valuations it puts on the brands. However, it makes sense for a lot of reasons, and provides some fun fodder for sepculation. Let’s plunge in! Read more