Sycamore Shops Stuart Weitzman

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Sycamore Partners, the New York-based private equity firm, is putting upscale footwear retailer Stuart Weitzman on the auction block, confirmed a source familiar with the matter.

Reuters reported the potential sale earlier on Monday, August 18.

Sycamore hired Goldman Sachs  (GS)  and Citigroup (C)  to run the auction, the source confirmed. As the bankers have just been mandated, the process is still in its early stages, but books will be sent to both strategics and private equity firms, the source said.

When Jones Group bought the 45% of Stuart Weitzman it didn't own in 2012 for almost $250 million, the deal gave the unit a valuation of about $550 million. Jones Group bought an initial 55% stake in the footwear company for $180 million in 2010, valuing the entire entity at the time at nearly $330 million.

Sycamore declined to comment on the situation. The PE firm took on Stuart Weitzman as part of a larger deal to acquire Jones Group for $2.2 billion, a transaction that closed earlier this year in April, but was announced on Dec. 19. After the deal closed Sycamore announced it was spinning Stuart Weitzman off as a separate company.


In February, Moody's Investors Services assigned a B2 corporate family rating to Stuart Weitzman Acquisiton Co. LLC and a B2 rating to its proposed $220 million senior secured term loan due in 2020, adding that the business' outlook was stable. Proceeds from the financing and $165 million of equity Sycamore planned to sink into the footwear business were to fund the acquisition of Jones Group, Moody's said in the Feb. 18 report.

That would have given the luxury footwear purveyor a valuation of around $385 million when debt and equity are added together, and assuming that all of the proceeds would be used to fund the purchase. Moody's said that the $220 million in financing and the equity would only partially fund the deal, however.

The ratings report noted that Stuart Weitzman for the 12 months ended in September had revenue of about $260 million. In addition to the $220 million term loan, the shoe company also had access to a $35 million asset-based revolver. Moody's implied that the leverage was a multiple of between or around 4.25 times and 5.25 times Ebitda, which would equate to somewhere in the vicinity of $50 million in Ebitda.

Stuart Weitzman has a total of 52 owned retail stores, with 33% of sales coming from outside of the U.S. It also has a wholesale division, selling footwear in retailers such as Hudson's Bay Co., Saks (SKS) , Nordstrom (JWN)  and Neiman Marcus Group.

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