A mystery investor has built up a stake of close to 5 per cent in Burberry, prompting Britain's best-known luxury fashion brand to seek help from its financial advisers to defend it against any potential takeover bid.
Burberry, with a market capitalization of £6bn, sought aid after its board could not determine the identity of the stakebuilder.
A person close to the company said that it had attempted unsuccessfully to ask HSBC, which is listed as the custodian for the position, to reveal its client.
The fashion company, which has seen its market value drop by more than a quarter amid a slowdown in Chinese demand, has called on its existing bankers at Robey Warshaw to help, according to people close to the situation. The group's corporate broker, Morgan Stanley, is also looking into the matter.
Analysts suggested that rival luxury goods groups such as LVMH, or private equity investors, could be behind the transaction with a view to launching a takeover. In a takeover, Burberry could be valued at £8bn, or £17 a share, according to analysis from Macquarie.
"Burberry is one of the few luxury brands without family interest and thus an easier target for acquisition," said Macquarie analyst Daniele Gianera.