Darwin buys Fenn Wright Manson

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The Independent Online

Darwin Private Equity has bought Fenn Wright Manson for an undisclosed sum in a deal that will see the only remaining founder of the womenswear retailer step down.

The private equity investor has also appointed Louise Barnes, the former chief executive of Fat Face, as executive chairman of the chain. Darwin wants to add more stores to Fenn Wright Manson's estate of 12 standaline shops and expand the "petites" collection it launched last year.

Colin Fenn, Trevor Wright and Glynn Manson founded the business, which has concessions in 61 department stores and 400 wholesale stockists, in 1974. Mr Fenn, the managing director, is the last to quit.

Darwin has also hired Sheila Wye, a former executive at Gold Group International, the owner of Ann Summers and Knickerbox, as Fenn Wright Manson's finance director.