Apax, KKR mulling bid for Signet Group

Apax Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts have undertaken preliminary analysis of Signet Group, a jewellery retailer with stores in the UK and US.

Apax Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts have confirmed that they are considering a bid for Signet Group, a UK-based jewellery retailer, which could be worth more than £2 billion (€2.94 billion).

Ernest Jones: flagship store in Kings Road, London

Apax and KKR said in a statement today: “Apax and KKR confirm that they have jointly undertaken a preliminary analysis of the company and that their analysis included the consideration of a possible offer for the company.”
Apax and KKR said that no decision has been made whether to make a formal offer for Signet Group. Signet said in a statement that no formal offer has been received.
UK free business daily City AM said today that the two private equity firms are working on a 132 pence offer for Signet Group, valuing the business at £2.3 billion. 

Signet: last 12 months’ share price

Signet Group shares were trading at 117 pence per share at 1.30pm BST today, up from 101.5 pence at yesterday’s close. The current share price values Signet Group at around £2 billion.
Signet Group operates 590 specialty retail jewellery stores in the UK under the brands H.Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis. In the US, the group has 1,847 stores trading under the names Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, amongst others.
Zale, America’s largest jewellery retailer with 2,345 stores, terminated merger talks with Signet Group in June of this year. Zale said at the time that it had “concluded that its shareholders are best served by continuing as an independent company”.
Apax exited its previous investment in the jewellery retail sector with the sale of Histoire D’Or, a French jewellery business, to PPM Capital, a UK mid-market firm, for €230 million in February.
The same month, CDC Enterprises Capital, a French buyout firm, acquired France’s Marc Orian from Crédit Agricole Private Equity, the private equity arm of the French bank, for €140 million.