Mufti brand’s promoter eyes stake sale, hires I-banker

The shareholders of Mumbai-based men’s apparel firm Credo Brands Marketing Pvt. Ltd, which is behind the brand Mufti, is looking to sell a controlling stake in the company and has hired an investment banker to look for prospective buyers, according to a report.

The Mint newspaper reported, citing two people it didn’t name, that the promoter Kamal Khushlani, who holds a 65% stake in the company, and the investors plan to sell a significant stake.

The apparel maker is in talks with a couple of US-based buyout funds to sell part of its business. It has hired JM Financial Institutional Securities Ltd to help finalise the deal, the report said.

Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity platform of media giant Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, the publisher of The Times of India among other newspapers, had picked up a stake in the company around eight years ago. Some of Khushlani’s friends also own a stake in the company.

Email queries to Credo Brands, BCCL and JM Financial didn’t elicit any response by the time of filing this article.

Credo’s shareholders have been looking to sell their stake for three years. In 2014, private equity firm Carlyle made a bid to buy a minority stake in the company. However, the deal was called off due to disagreement over valuation. Last year, VCCircle reported that Credo had initiated talks with TPG Capital.

Mufti, which was launched in 1988, is a casual wear brand, with a focus on shirts, jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets.

The Mufti brand competes with the likes of more formidable players such as Levi’s, Lee, Wrangler, Numero Uno and Killer. It is available in 110 large-format stores, 1,400 multi-brand outlets and 250 exclusive brand outlets in India.

The apparel retail segment in the country has attracted several deals in the recent past.

Last month, US-based private equity investor TA Associates Management Lp invested $140 million (Rs 937 crore) in TCNS Clothing Co Pvt. Ltd, which owns the W brand of clothing for women, to buy out shares from existing shareholders including Matrix Partners India.

Ahmedabad-based apparel maker Arvind Ltd is looking to dilute a 15% stake in its lifestyle brands arm, Arvind Lifestyle Brands Ltd, for Rs 900 crore ($134 million). 

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