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Business News

Aquascutum returns to British ownership

Fashion brand Aquascutum is to return to British ownership after entrepreneur Harold Tillman today announced a deal to buy the business.

Mr Tillman, who is best known for the transformation of upmarket retailer Jaeger, has acquired the Aquascutum brand from Japan's Renown.

Aquascutum was established in 1851 and opened its first UK factory in 1909.

The deal ends an uncertain period for the firm after its Japanese owner struggled to secure a sale.

Aquascutum's chief executive, Kim Winser, walked out in May after talks over a management buyout collapsed and Renown then put the brand's entire 343-strong workforce under consultation after a firm offer failed to materialise from a suitor in Hong Kong.

Belinda Earl, who is chief executive of Jaeger, is working alongside Mr Tillman on the acquisition. She said combined brand sales from the Aquascutum and Jaeger brands will be in excess of £300 million.

Ms Earl added: "We see further opportunities to build on Aquascutum's rich and long history for outerwear and tailoring as well as for new product collections."

Mr Tillman is the majority owner and chairman of Jaeger and appointed Ms Earl as chief executive in 2004.

Aquascutum, which is based in Corby, Northamptonshire, was founded by tailor John Emary, who invented and patented the technique of shower-proofing wools and was the first to introduce rain-repellent cloth.

The name originates from the two Latin words "aqua" and "scutum", meaning water shield.