European private equity firm Cinven today announces that it has agreed to acquire Kurt Geiger (‘the Group’), the leading footwear and accessories company and the largest retailer of luxury footwear in Europe, from Sycamore Partners for an undisclosed sum.

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 and 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. The Group 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’s Consumer team regards Kurt Geiger as a highly attractive investment opportunity based on:

  • Further expansion opportunities, both through in-market consolidation, digitisation strategy and international growth (including further rollout in Asia and Australia);
  • The growing UK footwear market: an £8 billion market with 3% annual forecast growth, and faster growth in Kurt Geiger’s key segments of luxury and bridge footwear;
  • Kurt Geiger’s strong brand equity across multiple brands and the potential to expand its own brand offering into adjacent categories (including the children’s footwear segment);
  • Longstanding luxury and premium concession partnerships with multi-year agreements;
  • Proven track record of consistent growth through economic cycles; and
  • Highly regarded management team led by Chief Executive Neil Clifford; CFO, Dale Christilaw; and Creative Director, Rebecca Farrar-Hockley, who will continue in their key roles under Cinven ownership.

Maxim Crewe, Partner at Cinven, commented:
“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. 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.”

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

Neil Clifford, Chief Executive at Kurt Geiger, said:
“We are delighted to be welcoming Cinven as our partners as they share our long term vision for the business. 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”.

The transaction is subject to customary approvals.

Advisers on the transaction included: Nomura International plc (M&A); Bain (commercial); PwC (financial), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (legal) and Marsh (insurance).