MANAMA: Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank and its affiliates have completed the acquisition of a majority stake in J Jill, a leading retailer of women's apparel based in the US.
J Jill has 225 retail stores across the US and leverages its presence with an e-commerce and catalogue driven direct sales business.
The business performed well during the recent economic downturn and achieved revenues of $390 million in 2010.
Arcapita acquired its interest in J Jill from Golden Gate Capital, which retains a minority stake in the business.
Golden Gate acquired J Jill in 2009, and over the last two years it has empowered company management to re-energise the brand.
Recently, Golden Gate began a process to identify an investor who would partner with it to continue growing the J Jill brand.
Arcapita's retail private equity experience, including Loehmann's, Caribou Coffee, Church's Chicken and Bijoux Terner, made it ideally suited for this role.
"Through a broad programme of improvements, the J Jill team have delivered steady growth in the current environment and created a firm base to capture faster growth as the economic environment improves further," said Arcapita head of US private equity Stockton Croft.
"Although in recent months we have directed more attention to the emerging markets of the Middle East, Asia and China in the search for new investment opportunities, our deal teams are now beginning to report a much more fertile environment developing for new deals in the US," said Arcapita chief executive officer Atif A Abdulmalik.
"This is an example of a strongly capitalised, well-managed company with plenty of growth potential at an attractive multiple, and in a sector where we have an excellent track record.
"I believe it represents an outstanding investment opportunity for our investors," he added.