Dixons increases its stake in PIXmania in a move to take full control of the firm

UK-based electrical retailer and services company Dixons Retail plc (LON:DXNS) said today it would take a further 22% stake in its 77%-owned unit PIXmania SAS for EUR10m (USD12.3m) in cash.

The transaction comes to support Dixons’ plan to give a boost to its strategically important business. The buyer agreed the deal with the target company’s founders Steve and Jean-Emile Rosenblum. It expects to finalise the buy later today.

Dixons’ UK and Ireland multi-channel operations are based on PIXmania’s e-Merchant platform. By boosting its shareholding in the firm, Dixons seeks to take full command of the business. It said it also intended to take measures to improve PIXmania’s performance, as the unit’s own trading business was facing huge challenges.

“PIXmania is the heart of our very successful UK multi-channel business and this acquisition will ensure the stability and flexibility to continue to improve the experience for the customers of that business,” said Dixons chief executive Sebastian James.

Digital photography and consumer electronic goods e-tailer PIXmania is currently doing business in 26 countries through its websites. In its fiscal 2011/12 through April, Dixons reported total PIXmania revenues of GBP665m (USD1bn/EUR845m), while its own sales stood at GBP8.19bn. PIXmania posted an underlying operating loss of GBP19.8m, while Dixons booked an underlying profit of GBP128.7m.

Private equity firms stalk Nike’s Cole Haan brand

US sports shoe and clothing group Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) has received bids for its leather handbag and shoe maker Cole Haan from several parties including private equity firms TPG Capital Management and Apax Partners Holdings Ltd, three insiders told Reuters.

Nike, which announced plans at the end of May to dispose of Cole Haan, could get some USD500m (EUR407m) for the business, two of the sources said, adding that the auction process had reached the second stage.

Apart from Cole Haan, Nike said then it would also sell its football specialist brand Umbro, as part of plans to increase focus on boosting growth at its NIKE, Jordan, Converse and Hurley brands, for which it sees strong potential globally.

President and CEO Mark Parker commented at the time that by concentrating its resources on the highest-potential brands, the group would be able to continue to ensure “sustainable, profitable growth” for shareholders.

The company, which bought Cole Haan in 1988 and took over Umbro in 2008, expects to wrap up their sale by the end of its fiscal year 2013, on 31 May 2013, it has said.

TPG and Apax did not wish to make any comment to Reuters regarding their potential involvement in the bidding for Cole Haan.

The Chicago-based target firm designs, markets and distributes luxury shoes, handbags, accessories and coats.