West End landlord Grosvenor fashions stake in Roland Mouret

One of London’s most prominent commercial landlords is in talks to take a stake in Roland Mouret, the British-based fashion designer, as part of an innovative move to bolster pandemic-hit tenants’ working capital.

Sky News has learnt that The Grosvenor Estate is discussing a deal that would see it become a minority investor in the fashion label, whose designs are popular among celebrity figures including the actress Scarlett Johansson and the Duchess of Sussex.

Roland Mouret is a 50-50 joint venture between Mr Mouret and XIX Entertainment, the media and artist management group founded by Simon Fuller.

Sources said on Wednesday that Grosvenor was establishing a new pool of capital which it is calling its Tenant Support Fund, with the objective of acquiring equity stakes in a small number of its tenants’ businesses.

The deal with Roland Mouret has yet to be finalised but could be sealed in the coming weeks, according to insiders.

One of Britain’s wealthiest landowners, Grosvenor owns property in some of the capital’s most affluent postcodes, including in Belgravia and Mayfair.

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The Duchess of Sussex is among Roland Mouret’s customers

Roland Mouret’s London outlet is on Carlos Place, close to the five-star Connaught Hotel and myriad upmarket names from the luxury goods sector.

The fashion designer is expected to show a return to profit for 2019 when it files its accounts, following a loss-making period that prompted the closure of its store in New York.

During the summer, Roland Mouret engaged advisers to help secure additional financing, but that process is understood to have been superseded by its talks with Grosvenor.

A source close to Grosvenor said the company was examining selective investments in tenants which needed working capital to steer them through the disruption caused by the pandemic.

In September, the London landlord announced that it was unilaterally extending the Treasury’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme by funding subsidised meals itself.

Mr Fuller has been an investor in Roland Mouret for years, although he is not involved in the day-to-day running of the business.

XIX has been steadily withdrawing from the management side of its business, culminating in the sale of its interest in David Beckham’s management company last year.

More recently, XIX has been focused on the development of new formats including the search for a new pop “supergroup” based on appearances on the video app TikTok.

Grosvenor, Roland Mouret and XIX declined to comment.