Post by (Gucci Taschen) Dec 2010
Sir Tom Hunter has sold his Office shoe chain to a private equity firm for about £150 million, netting the Ayrshire entrepreneur his second huge windfall in three days.
The sale of the upmarket retailer will allow Sir Tom to make a return of almost 10 times his investment in the firm.
It will also result in a multi- million-pound payday for Office's Scottish chief executive, Brian McCluskey.
Sir Tom has sold the business following a period during which Office has enjoyed dramatic growth in sales after cashing in on the boom in demand for branded footwear.
Office stocks a range that includes Converse shoes and Ugg boots, which have been flying off the shelves despite tough times for many firms on the high street. The chain grew sales by 30%, to £146m, in the year to January. Pre-tax profits surged to £15.6m, from £6.3m in the preceding period. Based on current trends Office is expected to achieve further growth in sales and profits in the current financial year.
The company's new owner, Silverfleet Capital, plans to roll out the successful formula overseas.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
However, Silverfleet is understood to have paid £150m.
This will allow Sir Tom to achieve a bumper return on his investment.
The entrepreneur bought the business for £16m in 2003, when it had just 20 stores. It currently has 75 stand-alone stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland and 46 concessions in stores like House of Fraser and Topshop.
Sir Tom's West Coast Capital private equity firm had a 95% stake in Office, putting it in line to receive around £140m from the sale.
The disposal caps a remarkable few days for Sir Tom, who was one of the biggest individual beneficiaries of the $630m (£400m) sale of PSN to its Aberdeen rival, Wood Group.