Cotton Traders Under Negotiation for New Owner

The founders of Cotton Traders are believed to be having some discussions over a potential deal that is aiming to sell the clothing chain to the owners of Sale Sharks rugby club.

A number of sources have said that Steve Smith and Fran Cotton, who are former England rugby players, have been having negotiations with CorpAcq, an investment fund, regarding a possible sale of the firm which has been in business for 31 years already.

Cotton Traders has approximately 120 stores in the United Kingdom. According to the accounts that were filed in the Companies House, the company has booked profits and turnover of £8.2m and £82.2m for the previous year. CorpAcq owns more than 14 companies that spans from plumbing and heating to forklift trucks. The company was launched in 2006 by ­Simon Orange.

Fred Done, the co-founder of Betfred, serves a non-executive director of the so-called “buy and build” acquisition group.

A spokesperson for Cotton Traders stated: “There is a strong, positive relationship between the owners of Cotton Traders and CorpAcq, particularly given the links with Sale Sharks rugby club.

“We confirm various ­discussions have and ­continue to take place ­between both businesses; however, the nature of these discussions remains ­unconfirmed at this time.”