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Linda’s back… founder regains control of LK Bennett to “accelerate” change

Linda Bennett has returned to lead her signature UK fashion business LK Bennett.

She has reacquired a majority stake in the retailer she founded in 1990 by purchasing Phoenix Equity Partners’ holding for an undisclosed sum. The structure of the new shareholding and the size of Bennett’s new stake have not yet been released.

In July 2008, Bennett sold the business to Phoenix Equity Partners and Sirius Equity for an undisclosed sum (thought to be £80m-£100m) but kept a 30% stake and remained a non-executive director.

Bennett, who was brought back this year as a consultant by CEO Darren Topp, said: “Working closely with the LK Bennett team over the past few months has given me a real sense of excitement and confidence in the potential of the brand. We want to focus on making beautiful clothing and footwear for women of all ages. I’m thrilled to be back in the business.”

Topp also said Wednesday the management team is “delighted that Linda has demonstrated her continued commitment to the business. Linda has been working with the team since April of this year improving the product, growing the business and supporting the changes we began to make when I joined the company last year. We look forward to accelerating that change in the future to ensure the brand’s continued success in today’s retail environment.”

Phoenix Equity Partners said under its guidance “the chain has significantly expanded its overseas footprint, and its online presence has been greatly enhanced. We wish Linda, Darren and the team every success in the years to come.”

The retailer has over 260 stores and concessions in more than 30 countries around the world while its online ops now account for around a third of sales. In the UK, it operates 49 standalone stores and the concession count has growth to 64 after opening 30 in the current year.

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