UK. Fat Face, the leading active lifestyle brand, has been acquired by Advent International, the global private equity group, for an undisclosed sum.

The Founders, Tim Slade and Jules Leaver, will continue to hold a substantial stake in Fat Face alongside Advent, one of the world’s most experienced investors in the retail sector. The founders relinquished their day-to-day management roles two years ago and since that time Louise Barnes (CEO) and Stuart Owens (Finance Director) along with their team have driven the company’s growth, supported by ISIS Equity Partners who today realise their investment in Fat Face.

Advent International, the lead shareholder in Swiss travel retailer Dufry, said: “Fat Face holds a unique position in the market with no other lifestyle brand offering the same proposition combining elements of contemporary casualwear and sportswear for those who believe that “there is more to life than work”.

The company added: “Fat Face currently has approximately 5% of the active casualwear market in the UK,making it the market leader; however, the growth opportunities for the business are excellent. The UK active casualwear market grew by +32% between 2002 and 2004 and is predicted to grow by +12% per annum over the medium term, compared to the general clothing sector at +4% per annum.

“Advent’s investment will further support the next stages of Fat Face’s development providing the brand with some great opportunities.”

Some 15 to 20 new stores will be targeted each year continuing to build Fat Face’s presence in affluent towns, activity locations and exploring international opportunities. Fat Face is already set to open its 100th store this summer. Product innovation will remain high on the agenda too, Advent said, as Fat Face builds on its heritage to meet the demands of the increasingly popular “˜active lifestyle’.

MORE ON ADVENT INTERNATIONAL

Dufry’s lead shareholder Advent International finalises €2.5 billion buyout fund – 26/04/05