Change Capital to exit fashion house for €167m

Roughly two years after acquiring Jil Sander from Prada, the European retail-focused private equity shop has exited to Italy’s GIBO, a subsidiary of Tokyo-listed Onward Holdings. While owned by Change Capital, Jil Sander's EBITDA grew from negative €13m to €6m.

Change Capital Partners, a London-based private equity firm specialising in branded goods and retail, has agreed to sell fashion house Jil Sander to Tokyo-listed apparel group Onward Holdings and its subsidiary GIBO for €167 million ($243 million).

GIBO has licensing agreements with fashion brands including Marc Jacobs, John Galliano and Roberto Cavalli. The company has also helped incubate emerging designers such as Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang and Hussein Chalayan.

Jil Sander was acquired by Change Capital in April 2006 from luxury goods giant Prada for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in Hamburg in 1975 as a women’s ready-to-wear brand, Jil Sander has been owned by Prada since September 1999. In the year prior to Change Capital’s acquisition of the company, Jil Sander chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris had overseen a restructuring plan at the company.

The brand, which now includes women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, accessories, footwear and fragrances, saw operating EBITDA increase from negative €12.9 million in 2005 to €6.1 million in 2007.

Change Capital was launched in 2003 by Luc Vandevelde, the chairman of distribution group Carrefour and former chairman of UK high street retailer Marks & Spencer.

The firm has €300 million under management and aims to invest between €20 and €50 million of equity in each transaction.

Change Capital’s most recent acquisitions include Spanish retail chain of electro domestic products Master Cadena / Idea and Italian outdoor furniture business Unopiù, both in December 2006.