IFM Investors bags stake in fashion brand Colette

Capital from the Melbourne-based firm will be used to expand the handbag and accessories retailer in Australia and overseas markets.

Melbourne-based private equity and infrastructure firm IFM Investors has made a significant minority investment in handbag and accessories retailer Colette by Colette Hayman.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed but IFM typically invests around A$50 million ($38 million; €36 million) in its portfolio companies.

It is understood that IFM, which mainly invests in Australian and New Zealand businesses with a value of between A$50 million to A$300 million, is working on a number of new potential deals in the private equity space as well negotiating new investment mandates.

According to PEI data, IFM is currently in the process of deploying Australian Private Equity Fund IV, a 2007-vintage vehicle that raised $665 million. Investors in the fund are mainly Australian pension funds including AustralianSuper, CARE Super and Australian Government Employees Super Trust.

Sydney-headquartered Colette is a fashion accessories brand that has over 100 company-owned stores and master franchise arrangements in New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Middle East, India and South Africa.

IFM’s investment will be used to finance Colette’s expansion plans. Commenting on the transaction, IFM Investors executive director Stuart Wardman-Browne, said: “We are excited to partner with Colette as it seeks to further expand in Australia and offshore. With the strong experience of its leadership team, niche value proposition, on-trend products and proven retail nous, we believe Colette is well positioned to execute on its next phase of growth.”

In addition to Colette, the IFM’s current portfolio includes contractor group ISGM, for which it bought a 50 percent stake in June last year for an undisclosed sum. The firm also acquired furniture retailer Focus on Furniture in July last year through its portfolio company, e-Commerce Ventures, an omni-channel furniture platform.

Around that time, the firm also hired Stuart Wardman-Browne, former co-head of private equity firm CHAMP Ventures, to its private capital team to assist in fundraising, sourcing and evaluation of direct investment opportunities.

IFM was founded in 1998 and has A$75 billion in assets under management, of which about 2.5 percent is in private equity. The firm, owned by 28 Australian superannuation funds, invests across private equity, infrastructure, debt investments, and listed equities, PEI data indicated.