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Who will buy Fusion Retail Brands?

Not two years after going into receivership after the failure of its restructuring bid, Australian shoe and “rugged outdoor lifestyle” brand Colorado has just been put up for sale by its private-equity owners, Anchorage Capital Partners and Ice Canyon. (The company also counts as shareholders Nomura, Rabobank and National Australia Bank.)

The business has since been renamed Fusion Retail Brands and counts women’s brand Diana Ferrari, jeans retailer JAG and shoe store Mathers in addition to Colorado. Of course, this is not the first attempt at a sale for the retail group.

Previous offers thought to be disappointing

As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, “There were attempts to sell the business and others in the stable… 18 months ago but offers that ran to about $110 million, did not meet expectations according to industry insiders… Since then a new management team has been working on restructuring the businesses, growing the omni-channel outlet and taking costs out of the businesses.”

However, as the Herald went on to report, “The latest set of accounts – for the 2012 financial year – show the group’s sales revenue of $244.4 million and a net loss of $13.2 million.”

Potential suitors?

It may still be a buyers’ market when it comes to distressed retail brands like those being put on the block by Fusion. Potential suitors could include Premier Investments (ASX: PMV), with its sizable million cash horde — and chairman and retail veteran Solomon Lew a key hand in Colorado’s 1999 float and then expressing interest “at the right price” in some of Fusion’s brands according to media reports some 18 months ago.

Other candidates could include retailer Kathmandu (ASX: KMD), with its solid outdoor apparel and gear business, or Super Retail Group (ASX: SUL), operator of Rebel Sport.

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The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. Motley Fool writer/analyst Catherine Baab-Muguira does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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