LONDON — Jaeger, the 128-year-old British clothing brand, has changed hands.
Better Capital, a private equity firm founded by venture capitalist Jon Moulton, paid 19.5 million pounds, or $30.9 million at current exchange, for a 90 percent stake in the firm. Better Capital acquired the business from retail entrepreneur Harold Tillman, who also serves as chairman of the British Fashion Council. Tillman will remain chairman of Jaeger and retains a 10 percent stake in the label.
Jaeger’s board said that it was “pleased that Jaeger has a new owner in Better Capital, thereby securing the future of the business. The investment that Better Capital has provided will create a strong foundation on which to further develop our iconic brand.”
Moulton said that a “substantial majority” of the sum Better Capital paid for Jaeger went towards acquiring its debt, and noted that Better Capital will be providing more working capital to Jaeger “in due course.” In the year to February 2011, Jaeger Group reported a turnover figure of 93.9 million pounds, or $144.6 million at average exchange rates for the period, and a net profit of 772,000 pounds, or $1.2 million. The company reported net assets of 11.2 million pounds, or $18 million. When Jaeger published its 2011 results in January, Tillman noted that he was “cautious” about the outlook for 2012, citing falling consumer confidence due to the tough economic climate as a concern.
Tillman acquired Jaeger in 2003, with the intention of restoring the brand to its classic roots. Since then, together with the brand’s former chief executive officer Belinda Earl, Tillman introduced lines including Jaeger London, a higher-end collection that has been shown during London Fashion Week, and Boutique by Jaeger, a younger, edgier line.
According to reports in the British press earlier this month, Tillman is also said to be exploring a sale of Aquascutum, the designer clothing brand he acquired in 2009.
Tillman could not be reached for comment Monday.