Barclays PE buys jewellery business

Following its acquisition of UK high street retailer Hobbs in January, the UK private equity firm has backed the MBO of DCK Concessions, a UK jewellery retailer.

Barclays Private Equity, the European mid-market buyout firm, has completed its second deal of the year, backing management in the buyout of DCK Concessions, a jewellery and fashion accessory company which operates through 1,900 concessions in high street fashion retail chains in the UK.


Barclays has taken a 32 per cent stake in the business and has provided the debt element for the transaction via its leveraged finance unit. The transaction was initiated by Invex Capital Partners which has also taken a minority stake in the business.


DCK has grown steadily over the last three years, with sales increasing from E16.3m in 2000 to E51.7m in 2003, with growth in the sector expected to continue. The costume jewellery market was worth E520m in 2002, having grown 14 per cent in volume terms since 1996. 


Alan Witzenfeld, who co-founded DCK in 1992, will remain as CEO. Barclays Private Equity has appointed Frank Dee, currently a non-executive director of Speedy Hire, Leeds and Holbeck Building Society and Marr Foods, as non-executive chairman.


John Walker, who led the deal for Barclays Private Equity, said: 'With our experience in the retail fashion sector, from backing New Look some years ago to the MBO of Hobbs at the end of 2002, we recognised that DCK has strong growth prospects. DCK acts in a partnership role with the host retailers, not purely as a supplier.'


Invex Capital Partners invests in management transactions that it initiates which typically range in value from £10m to £150m. Last year, the firm backed Royal Bank Development Capital’s acquisition of Hydrasun, an Aberdeen-based equipment supplier. Barclays Private Equity, which recently closed a E1.25bn buyout fund, looks to compete deals in the E15m to E250m bracket.