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Groupe Royer Buys Charles Jourdan

Groupe Royer, which bills itself as France’s largest footwear importer and distributor, has come to the rescue of Charles Jourdan.

PARIS — Groupe Royer, which bills itself as France’s largest footwear importer and distributor, has come to the rescue of Charles Jourdan.

Royer’s acquisition of the liquidated luxury footwear brand was green-lighted this week by the commercial court of Romans-sur-Isère. In November, the court annulled the sale of the brand to Costa Rica-based investment fund Finzurich after it failed to deliver payments.

According to Jean-Claude Paolini, who collaborated with receiver Christophe Roumezi on the case, independent investor Stanislas de Ferrières and a group of former Charles Jourdan employees were among candidates considered since.

Groupe Royer’s deal, valued at 2.4 millions euros, or $3.2 million at current exchange, includes French rights for the Charles Jourdan brand, seven stores in France and factory equipment, as well as share options in Charles Jourdan’s Swiss-based subsidiary, Charles Jourdan Holding AG, which owns the brand’s international licensing rights except for the United States, according to Anne Royer, Groupe Royer’s director of communication.

Groupe Royer, which holds footwear licenses for the likes of Converse, Von Dutch, Lee Cooper, Morgan and Paul & Joe Sister, acquired the Kickers and Stephane Kélian brands last year.

“We’re delighted with the addition of Charles Jourdan to our portfolio, as our strategy is to develop a luxury pole,” said Royer, adding that, while 85 percent of the group’s production takes place in Asia, the firm is negotiating a partnership with a French producer for the Jourdan brand.

“The brand’s collections will hopefully be made in France, if not in Italy or eventually Spain,” said Royer, adding that the first collection is set for spring-summer 2010. Royer plans to remain faithful to the brand’s identity, she said, noting that it’s too early to comment on who would oversee design.

Groupe Royer’s revenues totaled 260 million euros, or $350 million at current exchange, down almost 5 percent from 2007.