Moulton buys Jaeger despite UK retail woes

JON Moulton has admitted his concern over the health of Britain’s high street despite making a £19.5m swoop on Jaeger, the upmarket fashion chain set up nearly 130 years ago.

The private equity veteran told City A.M. it is “almost inconceivable” that he will not close some of Jaeger’s 50 stores and 90 concessions after his Better Capital vehicle bought 90 per cent of the chain and its secured debt from Harold Tillman.

Moulton said he plans to cut costs in logistics, human resources and the stores, although he was not actively planning closures. He wants to boost performance after Jaeger posted a 65 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £772,000 on £93.9m sales for the year to February 2011.

“It is a fantastic brand,” said Moulton but he warned Britain’s economic recovery was weaker outside the M25.

Jaeger is the second acquisition for Better Capital II – coming just weeks after a deal for double glazing firm Everest – and leaves Tillman with a 10 per cent stake in Jaeger.

Tillman was credited with saving the firm almost 10 years ago but is unlikely to benefit much from the sale, as the firm’s debts stood at £19.7m according to accounts for February 2011.

MOULTON'S RECENT ACQUISITIONS

December 2011
£40m
for Spicers, the UK and Irish based operations of DS Smith's office supplies business

July 2011
£21m
into purchase of electronic point of sale firm Digipos

March 2012
£25m
deal to buy window specialist Everest and finance its restructuring

July 2011
£17m
into joint venture with RBS to buy luxury yachtmaker Fairline

April 2010
£13m
for British arm of Readers Digest

February 2011

£15m
into deal for half of the compliance division of collapsed housebuilder Connaught

April 2012
£19.5m
bought 90 per cent of Jaeger