Cath Kidston to sell company to American firm

Cath Kidston, best known for her vintage style prints, is in talks to sell her fast-expanding retail empire to TA Associates, an American buyout firm. The deal will value her business at £100m, writes Matthew Goodman. Kidston, who started out with a single store in London’s Notting Hill in 1993, owns a third of the company. She is selling only part of her stake — but many of the firm’s 40 other shareholders will sell up. They bought in seven years ago when Kidston first sold part of the company. The investors include Quayle Munro, the corporate finance firm that is advising on the sale.

Cath Kidston Ltd was founded in 1993 when designer Cath Kidston opened a tiny shop in London’s Holland Park. She began by selling the vintage fabrics, wallpapers and brightly-painted junk furniture she remembered fondly from her childhood.

Gradually Cath began to design her own prints and products. One of the first was a printed ironing board cover – practical, quirky and with a distinctive floral print; it came to epitomize the Cath Kidston look. The product base has expanded steadily to include an extensive range of homewares as well as women’s fashion and accessories and the 2008 launch of the Cath Kids brand.

Over the years Cath’s high-profile collaborations have included creating tents with Milletts (2005-6), Nokia mobile phones with Carphone Warehouse (2006) and collectible radios with Roberts (2005 onwards). In 2008 she collaborated with Tesco to produce printed eco shopping bags made from plastic bottles to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care. The bags raised over £400,000 for the charity and saved almost 6 million plastic bottles from landfill. She has also published four books; most recently Make! in October 2008.

Image: Cath Kidston print

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