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April 19, 2022

Next Plc snaps up JoJo Maman Bebe with investment firms

UK clothing and homeware retailer Next Plc has acquired JoJo Maman Bebe alongside investment funds and vehicles managed or advised by Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP.

By Beth Wright

Under the acquisition, the terms of which have not been disclosed, Next has taken a 44% holding of JoJo Maman Bebe (JoJo), with the finance firms taking the remaining 56%.

The shares were acquired from existing JoJo shareholders, including the founder Laura Tenison who will leave the business as part of the transaction. Gwynn Milligan, who joined JoJo in 2017 as commercial director, has taken over the role of CEO. The other JoJo directors will be staying in their posts.

No immediate redundancies are anticipated.

Next will make an equity investment of GBP16.3m (US$21.3m) funded from its own cash resources. The company says an important aspect of the investment is that JoJo will retain its management autonomy and creative independence, and benefit from the collective experience of itself and Davidson Kempner to continue growing successfully.

JoJo will continue to trade through the following channels, supported by a shift to Next’s Total Platform in mid-2023 through a Total Platform arrangement on a commission basis.

The intention is that Next’s infrastructure – its online systems, warehousing, distribution assets and sourcing base – can serve as a catalyst for JoJo’s ongoing growth and profitability, both in the UK and overseas.

Next Plc CEO Simon Wolfson says: “Next is delighted at the prospect of its Total Platform supporting JoJo on the next stage of its growth and development. We are excited to see what can be achieved through the combination of JoJo’s exceptional product with Next’s infrastructure and Davidson Kempner as our investment partner.”

After accounting for integration and acquisition costs, the investment is not expected to have any material impact on Next’s group profits in the current financial year, but it is expected to make a positive contribution thereafter.

An established online business and diverse product offer paid off for Next Plc last month as the retailer reported a jump in full-year profits and sales – but the group is exercising caution in its 2022 outlook.

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