Bridgepoint acquires shoe chain

The latest UK private-equity backed high street retail transaction has seen the mid-market investor buy Faith Shoes for £64m.

London-headquartered private equity house Bridgepoint has acquired women’s shoe shop chain Faith Shoes in a transaction valued at £64 million (€93 million; $122 million).

Faith Shoes operates 67 stores across the UK and 120 concession stands, mainly in branches of Debenhams. The company generated sales of £73.5 million in the year to June 30.

The deal, Bridgepoint’s eighth investment in 2004, follows hard on the heels of Hicks Muse (Europe)’s investment in designer shoe company Jimmy Choo for £101 million last month.

Another UK shoe retailer reported to be attracting attention from private equity firms is LK Bennett, the sale of which is being handled by BDO Stoy Haywood.

Commenting on the transaction, Bridgepoint investment director Jason McGibbon said in a statement: “Faith is already a well-established brand with an experienced management team capable of rolling the business out further.”

In the UK retail sector, Bridgepoint also owns clothing company Adams Childrenswear and luxury cosmetics supplier Molton Brown. The firm also acquired UK debt collection agency 1st Credit for £72 million last month.

Bridgepoint has also made 12 exits in 2004, most recently realising 5x its original stake in Alcontrol, a Dutch-based laboratory testing services group, which it sold to London-headquartered Candover for approximately €345 million.

Bridgepoint is currently investing its €2 billion Europe II Fund and the firm is expected to start fundraising for a new buyout vehicle in 2005.