French Connection begins sale discussions with four potential bidders

The developments come two weeks after French Connection revealed it had started looking for a buyer, with founder Stephen Marks ready to sell his 42 % stake in the brand he began in 1969

The size of Marks’ stake means that any sale would trigger a takeover offer for the whole group.

Shares in French Connection rose 45 % on the back of the news back on October 8, and 10 % again on October 19 after the retailer said in a stock market statement that sales conversations were under way.

Marks’ investment bank Numis Securities is said to be in talks with a number of prospective bidders as part of a strategic review of the business.

A sale is also likely to be influenced by Mike Ashley, who owns roughly 27 % of French Connection.