Silverfleet Capital acquires UK footwear business Office from Sir Tom Hunter's West Coast Capital (WCC)

Silverfleet Capital has acquired UK footwear business Office from Sir Tom Hunter's West Coast Capital (WCC). The financial terms were undisclosed, but reports value the deal at around £150 million. Silverfeet Capital is a European private equity firm.

The UK business, Office first opened in 1981 as Office London and, following significant expansion throughout the 80s and 90s, now has 75 physical stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as a successful ecommerce operation. It sells brands like Ugg, Converse and Vans and posted sales last year of £146 million.

As part of the deal, Brian McCluskey will continue in his role as chief executive officer of Office. Sir Tom Hunter, whose WCC bought the business in 2003, noted that having held Office for seven years and grown it to become the dominant UK fashion footwear business it was appropriate to sell to Silverfleet to oversee the next phase of growth.

Gareth Whiley, partner at Silverfleet Capital said the young fashion sector of the footwear market is growing fast and there is still room for a roll-out of stores within the UK and potentially overseas. Silverfleet's Office buy is its second retail transaction within two months. In October, it acquired the Schneider Group, a German catalogue and online fashion and lifestyle retailer.

Brian McCluskey who will continue as CEO of the business under Silverfleet Capital ownership commented that the past seven years have been a rewarding challenge; the next seven should yield continuing opportunity as the firm looks to further UK and potentially international expansion. During the sale process Silverfleet demonstrated their knowledge of, and commitment to, growing this business in a dynamic manner and Office management team look forward to building on the firm’s existing success with them, he said.

Thanks to the commitment of Office’s brand partners and its people, the firm looks forward to continued growth, noted McCluskey. As part of the deal management will invest to acquire a stake in the business. Debt capital was provided by Lloyds Banking Group, Banca IMI and the Cooperative Bank.

Silverfleet Capital is an independent private equity firm owned by its partners and investing on behalf of a diversified group of international institutional investors. The firm has been investing in private equity deals for over 20 years, having previously been the private equity arm of Prudential plc and operating under the name PPM Capital.

19 Dec 2010.