Sunday 16 December 2018

Mullen trio in the pink on £30m deal

AILISH O'HORA

THE SALE of a majority stake in shirt manufacturer Thomas Pink to LVMH, could value the majority owners, three of the Mullen brothers of Dublin, at close to £10m each.

THE SALE of a majority stake in shirt manufacturer Thomas Pink to LVMH, could value the majority owners, three of the Mullen brothers of Dublin, at close to £10m each.

Sources close to the deal have confirmed that LVMH has bought 70pc of the company, which has a valuation of about stg£50m, and was set up by James Mullen back in 1984. Prior to the sale Thomas Pink was 95pc-owned by James, John and Peter Mullen.

As part of the deal, LVMH, the world's leading luxury goods group, will invest in Thomas Pink to speed up the company's plans to open additional shops tempting Europe and US markets, especially San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles with what have become the leading luxury shirt brand in the UK.

Thomas Pink already has 20 stores around the world in the UK, the US and one on Dublin's Dawson Street. In addition, all of the company's top-of-the-range shirts, which are worn by the likes of Hugh Grant, Gene Hackman and Elle MacPherson, are sourced from a small number of high-quality Irish manufacturers.

The company was initially understood to be considering a flotation but, under advice from investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, decided instead to sell a majority stake.

In a statement, Thomas Pink CEO Des Swan said: ``We are very excited about Thomas Pink's future, and believe our partnership with LVMH will yield significant synergies in the roll-out of Thomas Pink worldwide through a variety of distribution channels,'' he said.

Thomas Pink was set up in the early 1980s with a £20,000 bank loan and investments from the boys' father's business, Skerries Shirts, which in its heyday was the biggest supplier of shirts to Dunnes Stores. The first Thomas Pink shop opened in Chelsea, but now the flagship store is on London's Jermyn Street the street is to shirts what Saville Row is to suits and opened in 1993.

In 1992, though, business really picked up for Thomas Pink, and the company went from four stores to seven. But it was the Jermyn Street that gave the company a strong brand identity.

The US flagship shop in New York's Madison Avenue opened in September 1997, and a short time later another sprung up on Long Island. The Dawson Street shop also opened in 1997.

Thomas Pink was originally an 18th century tailor based in London's Mayfair who built up a reputation as a producer of hunting jackets. He is credited with the term ``in the pink.''

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