Silverfleet Capital is reported to be on the verge of hiring JP Morgan as an adviser to review strategic options including a public offering or the outright sale of the trendy British shoe retail chain. Observers feel that Office already has a good grip on the young fashion market in the U.K. and that a listing on the stock exchange could help fund its international expansion.
Office operates a total of 99 stores plus 48 concessions in premium department stores such as Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser and Selfridges. For the moment, Office has a limited presence abroad with three stores in Germany – in Oberhausen, Düsseldorf and Bonn – and corners inside Topshop stores in the U.S. – in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas. It is also selling products abroad through its online store.
The reports indicate that Silverfleet would be seeking a valuation of £300 million (€375.40m-$503.29m) for Office. They add that its flotation would be unlikely before next year. It would be normal for Silverfleet, which acquired Office from Sir Tom Hunter in December 2010, to consider cashing out after four years of ownership, particularly in view of the successful IPO last May of another big British shoe retail chain, Shoe Zone.
Sports Direct International, a big discount-oriented retail group controlled by Mike Ashley, reportedly expressed interest in a takeover of Office a few months ago, but nothing came of it.