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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Icelandic firm buys Karen Millen
Karen Millen store
Karen Millen has about 100 stores
Fashion chains Karen Millen and Whistles have been bought by Icelandic retail group Baugur for £120m ($219m).

Under the deal, rival fashion group Oasis - which is owned by Baugur - will take control of Karen Millen.

The move further extends the Icelandic retailer's presence on the UK High Street, following its takeover last year of the Hamleys toy store.

Baugur chief Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson described Karen Millen's tie-up with Oasis as "the perfect match".

Karen Millen shareholders will take a 25% stake in privately-run Oasis as part of deal.

Fashion roots

But Karen Millen co-founder, Kevin Stanford, will step down from his role as chief executive.

Mr Stanford set the company up in 1981 with fashion designer Karen Millen. Together they own 60% of shares in the group.

Karen Millen, which also owns women's fashion chain Whistles, operates around 100 stores in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the US.

A spokesman for Karen Millen said the takeover would create a "larger and more focused fashion chain" with sales of more than £350m.

Baugur is Iceland's biggest retailer and has been steadily expanding in the UK.

It owns shares in grocery company the Big Food Group, department store group House of Fraser and supermarket chain Somerfield.

Baugur bought upmarket UK jewellery chain Goldsmiths earlier this year in a deal worth £110m.

Bidding war breaks out for Hamleys
27 Jun 03  |  Business
Baugur takes Somerfield stake
20 Dec 02  |  Business

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