Shoe chain Stead & Simpson has been acquired in a GBP51.4m (US$89.2m) management buyout backed by Bank of Scotland Corporate.
 
Bank of Scotland will take a minority stake in the business - the UK's third-largest specialist shoe retailer - alongside the firm's management team.

Stead & Simpson's chief executive David Lockyer and finance director Peter Foot will both remain with the company and have reinvested a significant percentage of the sale proceeds back into the company.

Barry Stevenson, ex-director of high-street giant Marks & Spencer, will join the board as chairman on completion of the buyout.

The transaction marks a complete exit from the business for retiring chairman John Shannon as well as Development Securities, which bought into the business in the 1980s.

The acquisition follows a strategic review by Clearwater Corporate Finance to explore exit options for shareholders and to secure funding for the group's planned expansion.

Iain Pirrie, director of integrated finance at Bank of Scotland, said: "Stead & Simpson is an excellent retail business which has outperformed in a challenging retail market.  We look forward to working with the existing management to continue to build their business."

Stevenson said: "I have been impressed with the retail turnaround that the management team have effected since they took over the business. 

Lockyer added: "An excellent set of foundations have been constructed and I am excited about working with the team to take the business forward to achieve its undoubted potential."

Stead & Simpson generates annual turnover in excess of £140m.  It trades from more than 400 stores under the Stead & Simpson, Shoe Express, Lilley & Skinner, Famous Footwear and Peter Briggs fascias. 

Headquartered at Syston, near Leicester, the 1834-established company employs 3,700 staff.