The second-largest shareholder of embattled fashion chain French Connection has sold its stake to a mystery buyer.

Schroders had been a long term shareholder of French Connection, and with a 9.27 per cent stake it was the largest institutional investor in retailer.

Schroders sold its shares at 33p each.

The news is the latest blow for French Connection, which has endured nine years of losses and has recently come under pressure by investors to find a buyer or overhaul its corporate governance.

Last week, chief executive Stephen Marks began searching for new board directors after Dean Murray and Claire Kent stepped down in response to demands from American fund Gatemore and OTK Holding and Zoar Invest.

In a joint letter to Marks, the investors – which have a 15 per cent stake in French Connection – said Murray and Kent oversaw a “tremendous decline in value of the company”.

It is believed that Gatemore did not buy Schroder’s stake.

Marks continues to be the biggest shareholder of French Connection with a 42pc stake.

He has also continuously refused to relinquish his joint chief executive and executive chairman roles.

French Connection is also reportedly in talks to offload its London Oxford Street flagship to US sportswear brand Under Armour.



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