LK Bennett has appointed BDO Stoy Hayward, a British accountancy firm that has already advised Faith on its recent sale (see previous article), to handle the probable sale of Linda Bennett’s shoe company to an investor. According to reports, there are around 30 potential bidders and the sale may fetch up to £75 million (e109m-$145m). The first closing date for expressions of interest was on Wednesday, and the list of bidders is expected to whittle down to one buyer by Easter.
The most likely buyer is said to be Hobbs, a British chain of medium-priced shoe shops. According to other reports, which could not be confirmed, the recently refinanced Jimmy Choo and Luc Vandevelde, the former chairman of Marks & Spencer who now runs an investment firm called Change Capital, were both last-minute entrants in the auction. Besides, several private equity firms, retailers such as the Icelandic Baugur group, which recently acquired a stake in Shoe Studio Group, are also said to have shown interest.
Founded by Linda Bennett in 1990, LK Bennett has become a very well-known retailer specializing in fashionable women’s shoes, with a small wholesale business on the European Continent. It currently operates 26 stores, 13 concessions and seven other outlets in the UK. It's now opening a new flagship store in London's Covent Garden.
In the financial year ended last July, the company had sales of £36 million (e52m-$69.6m), which was up by 33 percent from the previous year, and an operating profit of £27 million (e39m-$52m), up 31.5 percent. It reported an 8 per cent increase in same-store sales between Aug. 1 and Dec. 6.