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Jones Group acquires Kurt Geiger

The Jones Group Inc has acquired Kurt Geiger, Europe’s largest luxury shoe retailer based in the United Kingdom, from Graphite Capital, a leading UK mid-market private equity firm, for approximately USD350 million (or GBP215 million) in cash, inclusive of debt acquired.  The transaction, which was financed with cash on hand, is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings per share, exclusive of any required purchase accounting adjustments.

The acquisition of Kurt Geiger positions Jones as one of the world’s most powerful portfolios of fashion footwear, immediately increasing its international penetration to just below 20 percent of net revenues.  In addition, this acquisition further extends Jones’ reach into the designer footwear business through Kurt Geiger’s portfolio of high-end brands and presence in leading department stores, such as Harrods and Selfridges.  Kurt Geiger will serve as Jones’ hub in Europe.  Jones believes there are exciting opportunities to optimize the portfolios’ existing and new brands.  The company expects to achieve significant revenue synergies by leveraging the combined networks of partners, infrastructure and strong department store relationships to expand product distribution worldwide.  On a trailing 12-month basis ended April 30, 2011, Kurt Geiger realised net revenues of approximately USD332 million (or approximately GBP205 million).
 
The Kurt Geiger management team remains fully committed to the growth of the business.  Neil Clifford will continue as Chief Executive Officer, and will continue to lead the Kurt Geiger management team; Rebecca Farrar Hockley will remain Buying and Creative Director; and Dale Christilaw will continue as Finance Director for the Kurt Geiger team. 
 
Wesley R Card, The Jones Group Chief Executive Officer, says: “This transaction is about pursuing opportunities to optimise our portfolio and establishing a strong foothold in Europe. The addition of Kurt Geiger to Jones is consistent with our strategy of identifying companies with best-in-class talent and proven brands that have the potential for substantial growth. We have the utmost respect for Neil and have gotten to know the team well over the years as our distribution partner for Nine West in the UK.  We welcome them to Jones.”
 
Richard Dickson, The Jones Group President and Chief Executive Officer of Branded Businesses, says: “Our mission is to build the most powerful portfolio of brands in fashion.  As part of our framework for growth, we are optimising our existing portfolio and launching new brands to create value. Kurt Geiger’s portfolio of premier footwear, exceptional brand management and best-in-class product expertise makes it an ideal complement to our business and long-term goals.  By leveraging our deep retail networks worldwide, there is substantial opportunity to grow Jones’ revenue base internationally and to introduce Kurt Geiger’s brands to the US. We look forward to collaborating with Kurt Geiger’s leading design and merchant talents, who will be instrumental to the rollout of our mission.”
 
Kurt Geiger distributes owned brands, including Kurt Geiger, Carvela and KG, and licensed brands, including Nine West, French Connection and Lipsy, in 49 company-operated retail locations and department stores. In addition, Kurt Geiger operates 156 multi-branded shoe concessions in 14 major department store groups including Harrods, Selfridges, House of Fraser and La Rinascente, working with over 100 brand partners to deliver the best selection of the world’s most reputable brands.  Since its management buyout in 2008 (backed by Graphite Capital), Kurt Geiger’s strategy of investment and brand growth has led to increases in revenues and profits, in addition to the doubling of the number of Kurt Geiger stores to 60. Kurt Geiger continues to drive global expansion and has already established a substantial presence in the Middle East, including stores across Dubai, Bahrain and Qatar, Russia and Turkey.
 
Neil Clifford, Kurt Geiger Chief Executive Officer, says: “Kurt Geiger has experienced exceptional growth over the last five years via the expansion of the core business and commitment to increasing our global presence. Kurt Geiger is still relatively young in terms of growth profile, with great potential still to be fulfilled.  We have developed a strong relationship with Jones and recognise it as an established designer, retailer and wholesaler in the US. Jones has a clear track record of supporting and growing its brands, and we are confident that we have found the right strategic partner to help evolve our business. We look forward to leveraging our global infrastructures to bring the Kurt Geiger and The Jones Group brands to more audiences worldwide.”
 
The financial adviser to The Jones Group was Citi. 

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