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Exclusive: EWM Group in talks to buy Berwin & Berwin

Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group is in advanced talks to buy men’s tailoring supplier Berwin & Berwin, Drapers understands.

The debt and equity of the 131-year-old business has been acquired by an unknown consortium of investors, unrelated to EWM Group. The retail group is now in talks with the consortium about acquiring Berwin & Berwin but the deal has yet to be finalised, according to industry sources.

A source close to the situation said EWM Group recognised synergies between Berwin & Berwin and its existing brands.

Day bought Austin Reed, for which Berwin & Berwin was the main supplier, in November 2016. EWM later bought Jaeger - another business supplied by Berwin & Berwin - in March last year.

Berwin & Berwin has three brands - Baumler, Lambretta and Paul Costelloe - along with the private label supply part of the business. It produces 17,000 suits a week.

The demise of Austin Reed hit the company hard and resulted in a pre-tax loss of £1.1m for the 12 months to 31 December 2015. Financial results for the following year are yet to be announced.

Managing director Simon Berwin’s great-grandfather set up the company when he arrived in the north of England more than 131 years ago from Belarus with his wife, seven children and a sewing machine.

If the deal completes it will be the latest in a long line of fashion acquisitions for EWM, which also owns Jane Norman, Country Casuals and Days department store.

EWM Group and Berwin & Berwin both declined to comment.

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