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Liberty owner sets sights on Jones Bootmaker takeover

Marco Capello, owner and chairman of London department store and fabric business Liberty, has made enquiries about adding footwear retailer Jones Bootmaker to his portfolio.

BlueGem Capital Partners, Capello’s investment vehicle which acquired Liberty in June, has requested information about Jones Bootmaker from BDO, the accountancy firm which is handling the sale of the footwear retailer. An information memorandum is due to be published in the next two weeks.

A source close to the situation told Drapers: “They are a very interested party. I would expect them be a proper punter.”

Jones Bootmaker was put up for sale in August with a price tag of up to £50m. EBITDA at Jones Bootmaker almost trebled from £1.4m to £4m in the year to January 30, thanks to a renewed focus on branded merchandise, which boosted total sales.

Jones Bootmaker chief executive Ken Bartle declined to comment on the sale process, and Capello was unavailable for comment.

Jones Bootmaker, which operates 93 stores, is one of a number of footwear retailers on the market. Fellow footwear chain Office was also put up for sale this summer with a potential price tag of up to £200m, and sent out its information memorandum last week. An Office spokesman said the company had up to three parties seriously interested in the business. It declined to disclose whether they were private equity or trade buyers.

In September, Jimmy Choo-owner TowerBrook Capital appointed investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to launch a strategic review of the premium footwear company and evaluate options including an initial public offering or a sale.

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