Cath Kidston, a London-based designer known for her 1950s-reminiscent prints and home-ware, has sold off another portion of her company’s shares in a multimillion-pound deal with Hong Kong-based Baring Private Equity Asia. This is the second time Kidston has banked big. In 2010, she first sold shares of her company to TA Associates.
Kidston’s retro polka dot and floral designs originated in London’s Holland Park, initially being sold out of a single location. Since 2010, her dinnerware, tea towels, ironing boards and other items have taken off and she boasts 166 stores worldwide. Her pieces are now being sold in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia.
The Guardian reports that the latest deal valued Kidston’s business at £250 million. Now Baring Private Equity Asia and TA Associates own equal stakes in the brand while management holds a minority share.
Dar Chen, a managing director at Baring Asia, said that Kidston’s popularity with Chinese and Asian consumers seems to lie in a lust for retro and country styles that aren’t found as often in Asia as in the UK. With such a captive consumer base, Kidston is looking to open a possible 100 outlets in mainland China.
Lucky for Kidston, Baring Asia is already known for bringing a number of western companies to China.
Kidston and Kenny Wilson, the company’s chief executive, believe that their newest business partner will be critical in establishing the brand in Asia. “Finding the right partner to help us manage the development of the Cath Kidston brand in Asia, and in particular to exploit its potential in China, was a key consideration for us. Baring Asia’s support and operational experience will be invaluable as we expand,” Wilson said.
image credit: andy roberts, ray tang/rex