THE mystery investor who backed a buyout of lingerie entrepreneur Michelle Mone’s diet business is Tony Caplan, a Glasgow lawyer who handled her divorce.
Caplan has taken a 40 per cent shareholding in Trim-Secrets while Mone owns the remaining shares in the company.
In October, Scotland on Sunday revealed that Mone and a then unnamed business partner had taken full control of the business she founded in 2006 with healthcare supplements retailer Jan de Vries.
Litigation lawyer Caplan works for TLT Solicitors in Glasgow and had acted for Mone in the separation from her husband and business partner Michael.
After a settlement was agreed in February, Mone posted a picture of Caplan on Twitter, saying: “Ha my lawyer is exhausted. I can’t thank you enough Tony Caplan x”.
Mone credited De Vries with helping her lose six stones in weight and set up the business to market a diet plan based around a supplement he developed.
Troon-based De Vries, 76, decided to stand down as a director and sell his stake as part of a wider move to pull back from his business interests.
It is thought the buyout deal was prompted by the sale of a majority share in MJM International last year to Sri Lanka-based swimwear and lingerie manufacturer MAS Holdings, which is solely focused on “intimate apparel”.
Mone’s stake in the company was held within MJM and at the time of the deal she revealed to Scotland on Sunday that it had been a “strategic decision on my part” to take TrimSecrets out of the lingerie business.
“In terms of the future direction of TrimSecrets, I am excited about developing new products and growing the range, and I have plans to invest in a robust marketing campaign early next year,” she said.
MAS took a stake of 51 per cent of MJM International during a deal completed in February with Mone holding the remainder of the business.
Last month Mone revealed she was preparing to relaunch her Ultimo underwear range to target overseas sales and is replacing Argentine actress Luisana Lopilato with Liverpudlian model Abbey Clancy, who won the latest series of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, as the “face” of the label.
The revamp will be accompanied by an “aggressive marketing campaign”.
Chairman Eliaz Poleg said that the company’s name was also being changed to Ultimo Brands International (UBI) to reflect the business’s “ambitions for growth beyond the UK”.
Caplan was named as a director of UBI in November. MJM, founded in 1996, supplies lingerie to retailers including Asos, Debenhams, Littlewoods and Next.
MAS designs and manufactures underwear and sportswear across 28 factories and design studios, and employs more than 60,000 people.
Caplan was not available for comment.