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French Connection in talks with several parties over sale of company

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French Connection in talks with several parties over sale of company
FILE PHOTO: A person walks past a French Connection store in London, Britain, 14 March, 2016. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo   -   Copyright  Hannah Mckay(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – French Connection <FCCN.L> said on Friday it has begun discussions with four interested parties regarding a sale of the British clothing retailer.

The company, which announced last week that it was reviewing all strategic options, said it has also had conversations with several other interested parties regarding its plans.

French Connection, which was founded by Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Stephen Marks in 1972, has a market capitalisation of over 51 million pounds ($67 million), according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Once known for its provocative FCUK brand of clothes and accessories, the company has been in the red for six years. In March, it said it was close to turning profitable, adding that it would consider resuming dividend payments when it did.

French Connection said in a statement that it expects the strategic review, including the formal sale process, to conclude during the first half of 2019.

On Oct. 8, the company said it could be sold as it was reviewing its strategic options, sending its shares surging as much as 45 percent on the day.

The retailer, whose brands include its namesake French Connection, Great Plains and YMC, has struggled to differentiate itself from rivals such as Inditex’s <ITX.MC> Zara, which offers a greater variety of clothes at cheaper prices.

($1 = 0.7668 pounds)

(Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru, editing by Louise Heavens and Susan Fenton)

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