Jaeger for sale, Rothschild in charge

Monday, 14 February 2011
British fashion chain Jaeger is all set for a sale after owner Harold Tillman was approached by a number of buyers. Ready to make the most of its spoilt child, Tillman hired investment bank Rothschild & Sons to consider Jaeger’s options, including an outright sale. The clothing-store chain could be valued at as much as 100 million pounds ($160 million).

Eight years ago, Tillman bought the Jaeger for a token amount, when its annual losses stood at £12 million in 2003. The veteran retail entrepreneur is believed to have acquired Jaeger from Richard Thompson, the businessman who used to run Queen's Park Rangers.

Last year Jaeger achieved earnings of £7 million on sales of £86 million and said it planned to increase its international footprint. With such an admirable turnaround, the retailer, which was on has more than 40 stores in the UK, analysts speculate that a sale could fetch up to 100million pounds, delivering a substantial payday for its owners.

In the same vein, the 127-year-old retailer has asked Rothschild investment bank to head a strategic review that could lead to a disposal. It must be reminded, however, that this is not the first time a potential sale of Jaeger has been presented and in 2008 Tillman appointed Swiss bank UBS to complete a strategic review of Jaeger.

The entrepreneur, who is chairman of the British Fashion Council, appointed Belinda Earl, the former chief executive of Debenhams, soon after taking over the firm and they have since helped revive its fortunes. "We see ourselves as an affordable luxury brand at the premium end of the high street. There's a lot of potential without reaching the dizzy heights of a designer brand," she said.

Under Earl's leadership, the retailer has launched a number of new brands including Jaeger London, which it will show on the catwalk at this week's London Fashion Week, and Boutique by Jaeger, which is aimed at younger, more fashionable customers.

As well as branching out into new areas, such as accessories and fragrance, they have also launched the brand online to broaden its customer base. Following his success with Jaeger, the entrepreneur bought struggling 158 year-old Aquascutum off its Japanese owners, Renown, in 2009.

While Tillman owns 72 percent of the business, chief executive
Belinda Earl owns 20 percent, reports the Guardian.

Photos: Jeager Londen SS11