Blackstone snaps up Jack Wolfskin

Blackstone has acquired German outdoor clothing company Jack Wolfskin, the latest in a slew of deals which have come despite retailers struggling due to subdued consumer spending.

US alternative asset manager The Blackstone Group has acquired German clothing brand Jack Wolfskin from peers Barclays Private Equity and Quadriga Capital in a tertiary buyout. Although financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, a source close to the deal said Blackstone paid €700 million for the business.

Quadriga and BPE paid €93 million for the business in 2005, including debt, acquiring it from fellow buyout group Bain Capital.

In 2006, they recapitalised the company’s debt, allowing the pair to return “a substantial amount” to investors whilst retaining their equity stakes, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. This sale has yielded a “significant” return for the pair according to a source close to the process.

BPE declined to comment on the size of the return generated by the exit, whilst Quadriga declined to comment on any aspect of the deal.

Blackstone was unavailable for comment at press time, but Axel Herberg, a senior managing director at Blackstone, commented in a statement: “We have seen consistent growth in the outdoor market, and Jack Wolfskin has played a leading role in this. Management at Jack Wolfskin has proven its ability to build a strong brand, and we look forward to supporting further growth throughout Germany and internationally.”

Other private equity deals in the outdoor clothing sector include UK-listed 3i Group’s acquisition of a minority stake in UK retail chain Go Outdoors for £28 million in April, and LDC’s acquisition of a stake in Mountain Warehouse late last year.

The deals have been agreed despite a tough trading environment for retailers as consumer spending contracts. Despite this, retailers continue to attract private equity interest. Electrical retailer Comet, which is owned by Kesa Electricals and has continued to underperform, has been linked with a possible buyout in recent months. Similarly, Liz Claiborne, which owns a string of clothing brands, is reportedly touting its Mexx brand to private equity firms. Leonard Green & Partners, Sun Capital and Golden Gate Capital have been linked with the business, according to newswire Reuters.