Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Anchorage Capital Partners to acquire David Jones

Anchorage Capital Partners (Anchorage) and Woolworths Holdings Limited (WHL) have entered into a binding agreement for Anchorage to acquire the operating business of David Jones, the nation’s pre-eminent omnichannel retailer of world-class brands.

Anchorage is one of Australia’s leading private equity firms with extensive experience in retail and consumer investments over 25 years and a strong track record of investing in businesses to accelerate their growth and achieve their strategic and financial objectives.

David Jones is a premium Australian omnichannel department store owner, with 43 stores and two distribution centres across Australia and New Zealand, as well as a rapidly growing e-commerce business.

David Jones was founded in 1838 and is a renowned Australian brand with significant business momentum and a strong financial position through its recent transformation initiatives―including major investments in revitalising its flagship Bourke Street, Melbourne and Elizabeth Street, Sydney stores.

With Anchorage’s experience, capital commitment and investment, David Jones would continue to execute its Vision 2025+ strategy, which capitalises on its privileged market position and brand value to:

  • Know and grow the customer base;
  • Be an omnichannel curator of world-class brands;
  • Deliver a seamless service experience;
  • And leverage the skill and experience of its talented employees.

Anchorage is proud to bring David Jones back into Australian ownership in the 185th year of the brand’s existence and looks forward to working with David Jones Chief Executive Scott Fyfe and his leadership team to support David Jones through its next chapter of growth.

David Jones’ management, strategy and ambition would continue with Anchorage, which is aligned to David Jones’ objectives of growth and innovation.

A spokesperson for Anchorage said the firm is thrilled to announce this landmark acquisition of a distinguished Australian retailer.

“David Jones has a storied history, immense brand value and unparalleled assets―including an attractive retail footprint, a loyal customer base, and dedicated employees.

“The Anchorage team will work closely with CEO Scott Fyfe and the talented David Jones management team on the next phase of its transformation,” the spokesperson said.

“Under this team’s stewardship, David Jones is now profitable, cash-generative, and self-funding, and we are confident in David Jones’ next chapter as the retailer of the future with a seamless omnichannel experience.

“This transaction aligns with Anchorage’s investment strategy and its successful track record of executing complex carve-outs. We look forward to leveraging our deep industry expertise, hands-on approach with management, and continued investment to drive key initiatives to grow the business and deliver sustainable future performance,” the spokesperson for Anchorage said.

David Jones CEO Scott Fyfe says the leadership team at David Jones is thrilled to have the support and financial commitment of such a well-respected owner in Anchorage, which shares David Jones’ vision and passion for the future of the business and supports the management team’s strategy.

“Together, we see many opportunities to optimise value and innovation in the David Jones business as we enter a new phase of growth. David Jones has been through a significant transformation, driven by our Vision 2025+ strategy, and I look forward to working with the Anchorage team to further enhance the leadership position of David Jones in Australia as the nation’s leading omnichannel retailer and one of its most loved and long-standing brands,” Mr Fyfe said.

Transaction details

Anchorage will acquire the operating business of David Jones with the transaction expected to close by the end of March 2023, subject to customary closing conditions.

Rothschild & Co. acted as financial advisor, Corrs Chambers Westgarth acted as legal counsel and PwC acted as accounting and tax advisor to Anchorage. Goldman Sachs acted as financial advisor, and Allens acted as legal counsel to Woolworths Holdings Limited.

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