david jones brisbane
David Jones in QueensPlaza, Brisbane. Image – Wikimedia Commons.
  • David Jones has been owned by South Africa-based Woolworths Holdings Limited since 2014
  • Transaction brings brand back into Australian ownership
  • The company has 43 departments stores and two distribution centres across Australia

Private equity firm Anchorage Capital Partners and Woolworths Holdings Limited – a South African retail company that is not to be confused with the supermarket chain – have today announced Anchorage has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the operating business of David Jones.

The acquisition brings the 185-year-old brand back into Australian ownership. David Jones has around 7.,500 employees.

Anchorage has over 25 years of experience in retail and consumer investments.

David Jones is one of only two major upmarket department store chains – the other being Myer’s – and has 43 stores and two distribution centres across Australia and New Zealand. Like many retailers, the company has a growing e-commerce business.

Woolworths South Africa acquired the company back in 2014 for $2.1 billion, a year after Myer proposed a merger.

Reports suggest Woolworths have sold David Jones to Anchorage in the low-to-mid $100 millions, well below the book value of $289 million, and of course a far cry from the sale price in 2014.

An Anchorage spokesperson said the firm is thrilled to announce this acquisition.

“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 spokesperson said.

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

“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.

Anchorage spokesperson

“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.”

David Jones CEO Scott Fyfe added the team at David Jones is thrilled to have the support an financial commitment of Anchorage.

“Together, we see many opportunities to optimise value and innovation in the David Jones business as we enter a new phase of growth,” Mr Fyfe said.

“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. 

Scott Fyfe, David Jones CEO

Subject to closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close by the end of March 2023.

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