Change Capital sells German fashion house

Change Capital Partners, a UK private equity firm headed by former Marks and Spencer chairman Luc Vandevelde, has sold its investment in German fashion house Jil Sander. Onward Holdings, a Tokyo-listed apparel group bought Jil Sander through its European subsidiary GIBO for an equity value of €167m.

Jil Sander retails luxury women’s and men’s ready-to-wear accessories, footwear and fragrances. The business, founded in Hamburg in 1975, was acquired by Change Capital Partners from luxury goods giant Prada for an undisclosed sum in April 2006. Prada had bought the business in 1999.

According to Change Capital Partners, Jil Sander’s operating Ebitda was transformed from a negative €12.9m in 2005 to a positive €6.1m in 2007 under its ownership, while strengthening its distribution network in the US, Europe and Japan, along with its product range.

New stores were also opened in London, Paris and New York, bringing the total to 61, comprising 26 directly operated stores and a franchise network encompassing Asia, Europe and North America.

“When we acquired Jil Sander from Prada, we saw a tremendous opportunity to re-establish the profitability of this iconic brand,” said Stephen Lobmeyr of Change Capital Partners. “Under our ownership Jil Sander has now achieved a successful turnaround and we have laid the foundations for significant growth in the coming years.”