The owner of upmarket department store Liberty is understood to be fashioning a bid for Ben Sherman, the British heritage menswear brand, Ashley Armstrong writes.
BlueGem, the private-equity firm, is said to be preparing a bid after the brand’s American owners, Oxford Industries, put the label up for sale.
US corporate advisory outfit Financo is said to be fielding interest on behalf of the company.
BlueGem, which has owned Liberty since 2010, was also behind a rescue of maternity, pram and babywear retailer Mamas & Papas last year.
The private-equity firm, led by Marco Capello, paid £40m for Liberty, which operates from a 125,000 sq ft mock-Tudor building behind Oxford Street. BlueGem declined to comment.
Ben Sherman became widely known for its Mod-era brightly coloured button-down shirts in the Sixties, but remained popular as it was adopted by the ska scene in the Eighties and BritPop in the Nineties, with British bands Oasis and Blur sporting Ben Sherman Harrington jackets.
Ben Sherman, which was founded in 1963 with the aim of replicating Ivy League style, has passed through many hands over the years. Private-equity firm 3i backed a £4m buyout from the failed Northern Irish Dunkeld fashion group in 1993 before selling to the Atlanta-based Oxford Industries for £80m. The womenswear collections were ended in 2010.