Investors raise concerns Ted Baker board left weakened by tragic death of chairman John Barton as it prepares to fend off private equity bid
Investors have raised concerns the board of Ted Baker has been left weakened by the tragic death of chairman John Barton as it prepares to fend off a private equity bid.
The quirky fashion brand is braced for an offer from New York-based Sycamore Partners. Chairmen are typically charged with scrutinising the merits of a takeover offer.
But the board’s lack of experience may leave it less able to handle a predatory approach, investors said.
Dressed to impress: The quirky fashion brand is braced for an offer from New York-based Sycamore Partners
Barton died suddenly in December aged 77. He was replaced by interim chair Helena Feltham, previously Ted Baker’s senior independent director.
Boss Rachel Osborne is just two years into her first chief executive role while finance director Marc Dench joined earlier this month.
One investor said: ‘The board looks very inexperienced. They have decent retail skills but this involves dealing with a delicate bid scenario.’
Ted Baker’s largest shareholders are Toscafund led by Martin Hughes, known as the ‘Rottweiler’ in the City, and founder Ray Kelvin. Kelvin built a successful brand before departing in the wake of a much publicised ‘hugging’ scandal.
Ted Baker has also faced an accounting scandal and pandemic store closures. The firm declined to comment.