European private equity firm Cinven has agreed to acquire London-based Kurt Geiger, the leading footwear and accessories company and the largest retailer of luxury footwear in Europe, from Sycamore Partners. Cinven will pay $371 million (£245 million), including debt, for the company, according to Reuters, noting the deal valued the business at eight times EBITDA. The transaction is subject to customary approvals.

Kurt Geiger is known for its glamorous footwear. Its current “face” is supermodel Lara Stone. Cinven’s Consumer team regards Kurt Geiger as a highly attractive investment opportunity based on further expansion opportunities, both through in-market consolidation, digitization strategy and international growth, including further rollout in Asia and Australia.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Cinven as our partners as they share our long term vision for the business,” said Neil Clifford, CEO at Kurt Geiger. “Our ambitions are significant and we believe Kurt Geiger will continue its successful track record of delivering strong growth both domestically and on the international stage”.

“Kurt Geiger represents an exciting opportunity to acquire the UK’s leading women’s footwear and accessories company with significant international growth and consolidation opportunities,” said 4Maxim Crewe, partner at Cinven. “The business enjoys an attractive specialist retail model with multiple brands and routes to market. It is led by a strong, experienced and committed management team and we are looking forward to working with them to achieve the next phase of growth under Cinven’s ownership.”

“Kurt Geiger has delivered strong growth through the cycle, whilst enjoying high cash conversion,” added Charles Miller-Jones, senior principal at Cinven. “Working together with management, we see real potential to develop further the omni-channel offering, as well as expand the business internationally.”

Kurt Geiger was previously part of the Jones Group, which was delisted by Sycamore Partners for $2.2 billion including debt in 2013. In January Coach bought the Jones Group’s Stuart Weitzman, the shoe firm. The acquisition of Kurt Geiger is the latest in the shoe sector, according to Reuters. In 2014 Labelux listed Jimmy Choo, while Permira bought the maker of Dr Martens the year before.

Established in 1963 on London’s Bond Street, Kurt Geiger has a portfolio of attractive brands, including Kurt Geiger London, KG, Miss KG and Carvela, and operates over 80 stores globally. It also operates 240 concessions within some of the world’s most prestigious department stores including Harrods, Selfridges, House of Fraser and Debenhams, and partners with leading international brands. It has a proven omni-channel business model, operating third party concessions, owned and international franchised stores together with high-growth ecommerce sites. Kurt Geiger is headquartered in London and employs approx. 1,700 people. In the year ended 31 December 2014, it generated sales of £260 million and continues to invest in new and existing outlets throughout the UK.

Cinven is a leading European private equity firm, founded in 1977, with offices in Guernsey, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Madrid, Milan, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and New York. Cinven funds acquire its focus, Cinven’s Portfolio team helps its European portfolio companies take advantage of international best practices and growth in global markets, in particular opportunities in emerging economies, including those of Asia. The firm focuses on six sectors: Business Services, Consumer, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, and Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT).



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