Ted Baker preferred bidder walks away, shares tumble

Ted Baker said on Tuesday its preferred suitor will not make a takeover offer for the British fashion chain and that the company would now weigh other proposals received as part of the formal sale process, sending its shares tumbling nearly 19%.

The London-listed group had put itself up for sale in April and said in late-May that it had picked a preferred bidder to take the process forward after a flurry of revised proposals and rejecting overtures from private-equity group Sycamore.

Ted Baker, which listed in 1997 under the name “No Ordinary Designer Label”, has not disclosed the preferred bidder but said the party had indicated that its reason for not proceeding with an offer was not related to its due diligence review.

A report last month said the bidder was Juicy Couture and Forever 21 owner Authentic Brands (N:AUTH), and was willing to offer more than 150 pence per Ted Baker share.

The U.S.-based group was not available for comment outside business hours. [nL4N2XM1BD]

Ted Baker’s shares were down 18.9% at 111 pence by 0708 GMT in early trade. At their peak in 2015, the stock was trading at 2,972 pence apiece.

Known for its suits, shirts and dresses, Ted Baker is in the middle of a turnaround plan, and in May pointed to robust sales in the coming months as demand for office and leisure wear rebounds.

The company’s market value has crumbled in the last few years following the departure of former CEO Ray Kelvin departure in 2019 amid misconduct allegations, and after the group disclosed an accounting scandal in 2020.

Kelvin has denied the allegations and still owns nearly 12% of the company he founded in 1988 in Glasgow, Scotland, as a single store shirt specialist.