Peter Jones, entrepreneur of Dragon’s Den fame, has bought the Jessops brand after it entered administration last month.
Jessops will operate as an online only camera retailer from now on, as Jones opted not to buy any of the chain’s 187 stores that closed two days after administrators Price Waterhouse Coopers were called in.
“We can confirm that we have sold the brand and certain other assets to a number of buyers including entrepreneur Peter Jones CBE,” said Rob Hunt, a partner at PwC. It is not known how much Jones paid for the Jessops brand but it is rumoured to be a multi-million pound sum.
The high street camera retailer was struggling financially, posting a £5.2 million loss for the year to January 2012, due to increased online competition and the overwhelming popularity of camera-equipped smartphones.
Far from the first time the brand hand been in financial turmoil, Jessops narrowly avoided collapse in 2009, by engaging in a debt-for-equity swap with its bank, HSBC, who took a 47 per cent stake in the company in an attempt to dissolve some of its debt.
More than 1,300 employees lost their jobs as Jessops collapsed. Just the first high-street chain casualty of January 2013, Jessops was quickly followed by music and film retailer HMV and movie retail chain Blockbuster, meaning a devastating loss for the British high street and its employees in an already notoriously financially difficult month.
Jones is estimated to hold a personal fortune of around £402 million, having made his money in mobile device companies such as telecoms firm Wireless Logic. Reportedly the 6-foot 7-inch entrepreneur made £38 million from the sale of the company in 2011, which he acquired in 2002 for £250,000.
The BBC show Dragon’s Den has featured Jones as one of the “dragons” since the programme started in 2005, seeing the entrepreneur helping budding company takes their first steps in the corporate world.
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