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Office seals Silverfleet deal

Private equity firm Silverfleet has bought footwear chain Office for an undisclosed amount from owner West Coast Capital (WCC). Chief executive Brian McCluskey has reinvested in the business and will remain in his role.

Silverfleet entered exclusive talks with West Coast Capital to buy the business last month.

The 124-store footwear chain, which includes concessions in House of Fraser and Topshop, was put up for sale in July for offers of between £150m and £200m.

Silverfleet is understood to have paid below the original £150m tag.

Silverfleet partners Gareth Whiley and David MacKenzie have joined the board of Office as non-executive directors.

Lloyds Banking Group, Banca IMI and the Cooperative Bank provided Silverfleet with the debt capital.

Sir Tom Hunter, chairman of WCC, said: “Having held Office for seven years and grown it to become the dominant UK fashion footwear business it was appropriate to sell to Silverfleet Capital to oversee the next phase of growth.”

Whiley said: “Office is a great business with a management team that really understands what its customer wants.  The stores are a destination for anyone looking for fashionable shoes – men or women; designer look to sports. The young fashion sector of the footwear market is growing fast and there is still room for a roll-out of stores within the UK.”

Retail entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter bought Office for £16m via his West Coast Capital investment firm in 2003. It has since tripled its number of stores.

The company enjoyed a strong performance in the year to January 31, when EBITDA rose to £18.5m, up from £10.5m the year before.

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