It's now official. Silverfleet Capital, the private equity company that bought the Office London chain in December 2010 from Sir Tom Hunter, has announced an agreement to sell its 88.9 percent stake in the British shoe retail chain to Truworths International.
The purchase price of £256 million (€354.6m-$388.2m) is four million pounds lower than expected, Silverfeet added, but represents a return of 3.4 times on its original investment. Truthworths will have an option to buy out within three to five years the 11.1 percent share held by the retailer's management, led by Brian McCluskey.
Under Silverfleet's control, Office expanded its store network in the U.K. and Ireland, moved into Germany and went online. It now operates 115 stores in the U.K. and Ireland, up from 75 five years ago, plus 47 department store concessions. It has six stores in Germany. Its sales have been growing steadily, reaching £270.2 million (€374.3m-$409.8m) for the financial year ended last Jan. 25 and generating operating earnings of £38.1 million (€52.8m-$57.8m) before amortization. About 20 percent of the turnover came from e-commerce.
The acquisition of Office is the first foray into the European market for Truworths, a fashion retailing group based in Johannesburg with 650 stores in South Africa and 40 in eight other African countries. It had revenues of 11.3 billion rand (€674.9m-$738.9m) in the financial year ended last June 28.