Better Capital buys fashion brand Jaeger in £19.5m deal

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The entrepreneur Harold Tillman has sold Jaeger, the 128-year-old fashion brand, for a knock-down £19.5m to Better Capital, the firm founded by the veteran venture capitalist Jon Moulton.

Better Capital has acquired 90 per cent of Jaeger, which has 50 UK shops, 90 concessions and a handful of stores overseas.

Mr Tillman keeps a 10 per cent stake and remains as Jaeger's non-executive chairman.

Mr Moulton, who founded Better Capital in 2009, said: "It [Jaeger] has been struggling but not a lot. It has been short of capital. It is a very strong brand and we have a good business to start from."

Jaeger has had to channel funds into the loss-making Aquascutum brand, which Mr Tillman acquired in 2009 and is also up for sale. Better Capital has acquired all the secured debt in Jaeger, which accounts for the "substantial majority" of the price tag. It has paid less than £5m for the retailer's equity.

This means that Mr Tillman, who bought Jaeger when it was loss-making in 2003, is unlikely to have made much from the sale.

Pre-tax profits at Jaeger tumbled by 65 per cent to £772,000 for the year to 28 February 2011.

Better Capital's head of portfolio, Nick Sanders, will run Jaeger, which was founded in 1884.

Jaeger's chief executive, Belinda Earl, stepped down on health grounds earlier this year.