JoJo Maman Bebe Founder to leave after Next buyout
JoJo Maman Bebe’s Founder is set to leave after her kitchen table baby goods business was acquired by High Street giant, Next.
Next has acquired 44% of the firm’s shares, with the rest purchased by investment firms linked to hedge fund Davidson Kempner.
Founder Laura Tenison famously started the company from her kitchen table almost 30 years ago, before turning it into one of the UK’s leading mother and baby retailers. She will be leaving the company as part of the deal.
Next plans to keep the specialist baby goods retailer separate from the rest of its fashion and homewares business, retaining its “brand identity, values and talent”.
It will instead be focusing on growing JoJo Maman Bebe globally, allowing it to “benefit from the economies of scale” of Next’s online infrastructure. Next will also make a £16.3 million investment in the brand.
There will be no immediate job losses at the boutique chain, which has 87 stores across the UK and currently employs around 950 people across its online and bricks-and-mortar operations.
According to an email seen by the BBC, staff were told last week that the deal would “ensure the longevity of the brand for generations of new customers”.
The email also stated that the new owners “are keen to keep stores where they are trading profitably”, and that “there may be opportunities for more stores [and] new international websites”.
Tennison said she was she was “exceptionally proud” of the firm’s achievements and was “excited by the opportunities this new partnership will offer”.
She added that the new owners had: “exciting plans to expand and grow the brand much faster than we ever could, giving us the opportunity to open in new markets”.
Gwynn Milligan, who joined the retailer in 2017 as commercial director, is taking over as chief executive.
Next’s chief executive Lord Wolfson, added: “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.”
He added that the investment was not expected to have any immediate impact on the High Street giant’s profits this financial year, but he expects it “to make a positive contribution thereafter”.
It is unclear whether JoJo Maman Bebe product will be sold in Next shops.