Electra Private Equity has hired Stifel Nicolaus Europe Ltd. as the investment banker to oversee the sale of its footwear brand Hotter Shoes.
For now, Stifel will commence preparation for an auction that is expected to begin next year. “The timing of the launch of any sales process will be determined over the coming months as trading patterns normalize in Hotter’s new business model focused on direct-to-consumer channels predominantly in the U.K. and U.S.,” the private equity firm said on Friday.
Electra inked an agreement to acquire Hotter in January 2014 for deal valued at 200 million pounds ($150.6 million at that time).
The company’s stores were temporarily shuttered earlier this year due to the coronavirus outbreak that required nonessential retailers to close. A second national lockdown went into effect Nov. 5 for England, resulting in temporary lockdowns again through at least Dec. 2. Some stores in Wales and Scotland remain open for now.
The footwear firm in June launched a company voluntary agreement seeking to decrease its store rent obligations. At the time, it also said it would close more than 45 doors, keeping 15 freestanding stores and concessions. The CVA was approved in July by creditors, who were given one month to file any objections to the plan. The month expired without any challenges. Following court confirmation of the CVA, Electra in August injected 2 million pounds ($2.6 million) it agreed to in support of the CVA. The investment and CVA restructuring process helped the firm save hundreds of jobs.
Hotter was founded as Beaconsfield Footwear in 1959 in Lancashire as a slipper manufacturer. The company expanded to fashion footwear in the early 1990s and still operates and manufactures products from its factory in Lancashire. Last year, it produced 1.6 million pair, according to the brand’s website. That gave Hotter the ability to brag that it is the “biggest shoe manufacturer in the U.K.” Some styles, such as women’s heeled shoes, can’t be made in the Lancashire factory and are manufactured through its network of global partners.