Histoire d’Or is France’s leading jewellery chain, retailing gold, silver and costume jewellery in more than 200 stores.
Most stores are located in shopping centres throughout France with a small number located in city centres. Histoire d’Or also has a presence in Italy, Belgium, Spain and Portugal.
Before our investment, Histoire d’Or operated 124 stores, a number it had steadily grown over the years. We believed there was an opportunity to accelerate this roll-out and in March 2006 backed the management team, led by Eric Belmonte, in a tertiary buy-out.
We aimed the roll-out principally at locations in French shopping centres; through organic growth and the acquisitions of existing stores owned by independent operators.
We had also identified several potential acquisitions in France and abroad. When we invested, in March 2006, the business was almost exclusively French but there was potential scope to replicate its success in targeted neighbouring European markets.
We set out to accelerate the store roll-out soon after completing our acquisition of Histoire d’Or and by the end of 2007 we had added a total of 44 stores in France, 17 of which were a result of the acquisition of the Charles d’Orville chain.
From this point, we continued to open an average of seven stores a year in France, with a temporary pause for much of 2009 due to the global economic slowdown.
In October 2007, Histoire d’Or bought its Belgian franchisee, adding a further eight outlets, to which it added another two stores in that market.
After careful analysis we became convinced that there was an opportunity for Histoire d’Or in the Italian market, which bore some resemblance to the French marketplace, albeit more fragmented. The first store opened in Naples in September 2007 and by September 2010, when we agreed to sell the business, there were 11 locations in Italy. In total, Histoire d’Or had 208 stores at the time of our exit.
In the spring of 2010 we received an approach from an investor group and sold the company in October 2010 for €417m. This resulted in a return of 3.2x cost and a 28% IRR.
opened during Silverfleet’s ownership