Graphite buys into Jane Norman

The UK buyout house has acquired control of fashion retail chain Jane Norman, in a deal valued at £70m.

Graphite Capital, the UK private equity house, has announced the £70m management buyout of women’s clothing chain Jane Norman from businessman Norman Freedman and his two daughters. The exact stake in the firm to be taken by Graphite is not being disclosed.

Debt facilities are being provided by Bank of Scotland and Intermediate Capital Group, in the form of senior and mezzanine debt, respectively.

Graphite, which was one of a number of parties vying to buy the chain, is backing Jane Norman managing director, Saj Shah, who has been with the company for more than 20 years. The firm has also appointed non-executive chairman David Brock and non-executive director Keith Pacey to assist him.

Commenting on the firm’s plans for the business going forward, Shah, who has overseen expansion from eight to 46 outlets, said that management has plans to double that figure in the next four of five years. “There are many top locations which we are not in. There is a lot of scope for us to keep on creating an impact and making bigger profits,” he told The Guardian.

Established by Freedman in 1952, the group made a profit in 2001 of £5.5m and is expected to report higher 2002 earnings.

Graphite Capital has completed a series of deals in the retail sector over the past few years, including the management buyouts of Game, Ottakar’s, Wagamama and Maplin Electronics.