Jack Wills continues with sale preparations

Mon, 15 Jul 2013 | BUSINESS SALE

Retail company Jack Wills is continuing to prepare the company for sale as the business' owners seek to maximise the value of the firm as part of their exit strategy.

Wendy Becker, a former partner of McKinsey, was brought in as chief operating officer last year in order to increase the value of the business. She has already implemented a number of changes, including the strengthening of the management team with the appointment of new directors in finance, retail, international and digital, and closed the Aubin & Wills brand, which was more aimed more at older customers.

Ms Becker told the FT: “I have been brought in to create a large global brand and to maximise the value of the business for a transaction that will certainly happen at some point in a three to six-year timeframe.”

The business is keeping this long-term approach in mind as it brings in the raft of changes needed to maximise value before a sale. In the short-term, however, the sharp changes are showing and in the year to 3 February 2013, the Wills Lifestyle Holdings business recorded a £9.72 million pre-tax loss. This was as a result of the costs related to implementing a new stock management system, the management overhaul and the tough conditions impacting the UK high street.

When the firm is eventually sold, its owners Peter Williams and Robert Shaw are expected to enjoy a windfall of at least £350 million. The pair still own 70 per cent of the company, with private equity group Inflexion holding a 27 per cent stake.

Related information:
Ark retail business bought out of administration
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