New owners include Jane Norman executives
Womenswear retailer Phase Eight has been bought for£51.5 million by a consortium that includes senior executives from Jane Norman.

Jane Norman chief executive Saj Shah and finance director Ian Findlay have invested in the deal headed up by Icelandic bank Kaupthing.

Former Kookaï boss Michael Rahamim and property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz are also investing in the deal. Shah and Rahamim will be non-executive directors of the company.

Kaupthing is already a shareholder in Jane Norman and has investments in retailers including Mosaic, Costcutter and Somerfield.

The consortium is yet to name its chief executive, who will replace Joy Walters. Walters and Gap European operations chief executive Stephen Sunnucks, who was chairman of Phase Eight for a short time, will sell their stakes in the business.

Chairman David Brock, who is also chairman of Jane Norman, will remain, along with the rest of the management team. His stake in the business will roll over into the new company.

It is understood that the management team will double the number of Phase Eight high street stores to at least 100. The retailer also has 92 concessions in department stores.

Barclays Private Equity backed the management in a£27 million buyout in February 2005 and owned 72 per cent of the company.

The business is thought to make profits of£6.5 million on sales of£47 million.