Kurt Geiger out of Jones Bootmaker race, acquisition-hungry Endless is now favourite

No sooner did we learn that Kurt Geiger was one of the interested parties lining up to acquire failing Jones Bootmaker than the shoe specialist has dropped out of the race.


Will Endless win the race to buy Jones Bootmaker?


Press reports at the weekend suggested the the company had pulled out leaving private equity firm Endless as the main bidder. Endless also owns bathroom fittings and furniture company Bathstore and has been on the acquisition trail in recent months.

Kurt Geiger had been reported to be mainly interested in the Jones Bootmaker brand name, which would have left its 1,100 staff at risk and its 100-plus stores and concessions likely to have seen major closures.

It is unclear what Endless, an experienced retail investor, would do with the chain. It is still likely that a significant number of under-performing stores would be shuttered in order to carve out a sustainable future for the brand that has been struggling for some time. But the firm has a track record of returning its investments to health and growing their store footprint.

Management changes could also be on the cards. Earlier this month Endless announced the acquisiton of Arran Aromatics, a luxury well-being specialist and named William Wellesley, former MD of Molton Brown Cosmetics, as non-executive chairman and Allan Caldwell, previously CEO of Scottish Fine Soaps as its COO.

As far as Jones is concerned, the London Evening Standard reported that none of the parties (Kurt Geiger owner Cinven, plus Endless and Jones owner Alteri) have commented on the reports of who is and is not interested in buying Jones.

Alteri last week filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator for Jones, temporarily blocking creditors from moving to wind it up or make any claims on it. This will have bought it a small amount of time to strike a deal that could salvage it as going concern.



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