Tom Singh poised to take New Look private again

Fashion retailer New Look looks likely to become the latest retail privatisation, after independent directors recommended a 348p per share offer from founder Tom Singh.

Backed by venture capitalists Apax Partners and Permira, the offer from Singh's Trinitybrook vehicle will be implemented via a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement. The offer, launched on February 13, values the group at£699.1 million.

New Look operations director Carl McPhail said the retailer will stick to its current strategy. 'We remain committed to our heartland stores.'

Former managing director Phil Wrigley replaces Stephen Sunnucks as chief executive officer. Sunnucks, who has been at New Look since 2000, is understood to be in the running for the head of clothing job at Marks & Spencer.

He reportedly did not want to work for a private company and will leave if the bid goes through, receiving£6.9 million through cashing in shares.

Singh will become managing director, commercial, while New Look's other key executives - finance director Alastair Miller and McPhail - are backing Trinitybrook. They will transfer£3.8 million of their present investment in New Look into Trinitybrook.

Seymour Pierce analyst Rhys Williams said he does not expect much change in New Look's strategy, because the existing management supported the offer. Singh's initial indicative offer of 330p a share was rejected by New Look's independent directors in September. Singh and his family will hold a 23 per cent stake in Trinitybrook. He originally floated New Look in 1998.