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30 November 2015

Silverfleet announces sale of footwear retailer OFFICE

Significant growth achieved in the UK and expansion into Germany during five-year investment period

Silverfleet Capital, the European private equity firm with a buy-to-build focus, has agreed to sell Office Retail Group (“OFFICE” or “the Company”), the UK’s leading young fashion footwear retailer to Truworths International, a leading South African fashion retailer listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, for £256 million (approx. €363 million). The closing of the transaction, which is expected to occur in early December 2015, is subject to approval by the South African Reserve Bank.

Silverfleet invested in OFFICE in December 2010 and over the last five years has worked with the management team to establish the Company as the leading fashion footwear retailer. Under Silverfleet’s ownership, OFFICE enhanced significantly its e-commerce offering, expanded its retail outlets from 75 to 115 stand-alone stores in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, including the six it opened in Germany as part of its expansion into Europe. It also increased the number of concessions to 47, which are based in Selfridges, Topshop, Topman and House of Fraser. This rollout programme has created over 1,200 new jobs.

Headquartered in London and founded in 1981, OFFICE has a full multi-channel retail offering, including stores, department store concessions, web-shops, in-store tablets and click & collect services. Total sales in the financial year to January 2015 were £270 million (approx. €382 million) and online sales now account for c.20% of the Company’s overall sales.

Commenting on the transaction, Gareth Whiley, Partner at Silverfleet Capital said: “OFFICE has been one of the great success stories in shoe retailing and has experienced tremendous growth in a competitive space. It is a fantastic business with an excellent management team whom we have worked with very closely over the past five years. We are delighted with our successful investment in the Company achieving a 3.4x return and wish the team every success in the future.”

CEO of OFFICE, Brian McCluskey, said: “I would like to thank Silverfleet for their support and commitment to our business over the last five years, during which time we have grown significantly in the UK and expanded into Germany. Together with Silverfleet we have grown the business into the success it is today. We are excited to have found a long-term strategic retail partner in Truworths International. We look to further invest in the business and continue our success as part of Truworths International.”

Silverfleet has also recently invested in Danish womenswear clothing brand, Masai Clothing Company, which was announced in June 2015. In addition, Silverfleet owns La Fée Maraboutée, a French wholesaler & retailer of women’s fashion and creatrade, a German multi-channel retailer.

Advisers to the sellers of OFFICE were Rothschild and JP Morgan (corporate finance); PWC (financial and tax); and Travers Smith (legal).

The transaction will be effected by Truworths International through a subsidiary that is resident and managed in the UK.

Note: GBP sterling conversion into Euros at rate of £/€0.706