Kurt Geiger sold in £95m buyout

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The Independent Online

Kurt Geiger, the luxury shoe retailer, has been bought for £95m in a management-led buyout backed by the private equity firm Graphite Capital.

Graphite is believed to have beaten off bids from rivals including Advent, 3i and Highland Star, as well as a bid vehicle backed by the Fleming banking family working alongside Wyfold International, a new private equity firm fronted by the former ITV chief executive Charles Allen.

A Qatari-backed group is also thought to have tabled an offer.

The auction was run by Hawkpoint, the corporate finance house bought in 2006 by the banking group Collins Stewart.

Barclays Capital, which acquired a 72 per cent stake in Kurt Geiger as part of a management buyout of the business from Harrods in 2005, is thought to have near doubled its money on the sale of its stake to Graphite.

Kurt Geiger has 22 stores worldwide, six of which are airport outlets. Its chief executive, Neil Clifford, said the change of ownership would enable the company to pursue an aggressive expansion programme. Kurt Geiger sells a raft of luxury shoe brands including Prada, Marc Jacobs, Gucci and Jimmy Choo, as well as its own labels, KG and Carvela.

Graphite is no stranger to the retail arena, having previously invested in high-street names including Maplin Electronics, Game and Paperchase. The firm also owns the Groucho Club, Soho's celebrity haunt.