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Paule Ka fashion brand placed in receivership

The Equipe Paule Ka team colours
(Image credit: Paule Ka)

The French fashion brand Paule Ka has been placed in receivership and in an insolvency plan, according to a report in Fashion Network Tuesday. The Paris Commercial Court opened the procedure on October 27.

The women's fashion brand was placed in receivership after, according to the brand, "its sole shareholder, the company Rodexia, and its chairman Matthias Thoma did not inject the necessary funds and on which he made a commitment during its acquisition in June 2020 from Marco Polo group," reported in Fashion Network.

Paule Ka was sold last June by the Marco Polo Company, headed by Xavier Marie, to the German businessman Matthias Thoma, based in Switzerland. However, it now appears that the brand was placed in receivership just four months on in October, and that the brand is now searching for a new investor. According to the report, the deadline for submitting proposals was set for November 30.

Paule Ka operates 56 stores and departments globally. It also has a wholesale network of 250 retailers and the company employs 109 people in France and 24 people abroad, according to the Fashion Network report.

Paule Ka took over title sponsorship of the UCI women's team,  Equipe Paule Ka, on July 1. However, the team were forced to fold in October after only they did not receive some of the agreed-upon payments.

“The two incidents are unrelated,” Matthias Thoma told Cyclingnews

In June, Paule Ka stepped in to sponsor the former Bigla-Katusha women's cycling team on what was announced by the team as a three-and-half-year deal through 2024, after the previous title sponsors Bigla and Katusha withdrew funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The team officially changed names to Equipe Paule Ka on July 1 and went on to much success with Lizzy Banks winning a stage at the Giro Rosa, and Mikayla Harvey winning the best young rider competition. The team had podium performances at Strade Bianche with Leah Thomas, and GP de Plouay with Banks.

Despite this success, Equipe Paule Ka announced that it had not received the full sponsorship funding and needed to open the team bank guarantee to pay rider salaries. In October, they announced that the team would close immediately due to major financial problems.

Équipe Paule Ka claimed that the sponsor was late with its first payment in July and then failed to pay the team in August, September and October, despite multiple assurances that the payments were on their way. 

Team owner Thomas Campana stated that the written contract was signed through end of 2020, while a verbal agreement was made to take the team through 2024.

Cyclingnews reached out to Paule Ka owner, Matthias Thoma, at that time for clarity on the company's decision to pull funding from the team, however, Cyclingnews understands that the company and the team agreed not to discuss the matter in the press.

"At this time my only comment is that the owners of team and company are in negotiations about a dissolution of the sponsorship agreement," Thoma told Cyclingnews in October.

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.