CAMERA retailing brand Jessops, which collapsed last month, has been bought by a group which includes Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Peter Jones and is also believed to involve Hilco, the turnaround group that has taken control of stricken HMV.
Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) last night announced the sale of the Jessops brand and some “other assets” understood to be leftover stock and intellectual property such as trademarks and patents.
It was not thought that any closed Jessops stores will reopen as a result of the deal and reports last night suggested Jones intends to run the camera retailer solely as an online business. However, it is understood Hilco had been in talks about installing Jessops concessions in HMV stores.
A spokesman for PwC said: “We can confirm we have sold the brand and certain other assets to a number of buyers including entrepreneur Peter Jones CBE.”
The amount paid to take control of the brand has not been disclosed. Jessops, founded in 1935, closed all 187 of its UK branches, including 12 in Scotland, in the second week of January with the loss of 1,500 jobs. It had been suffering in the face of competition from online retailers.
Jones made his wealth in mobile phones, and has been an ever-present on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den programme since it started in 2005.
Hilco UK, which owns the Denby pottery firm and is best known for its rescue of furnishings group Habitat, was founded out of a partnership between UK management and the US-based distressed retail and advisory firm Hilco Group.
In October 2011, Jones and Hilco bid together to take over the then-struggling electrical chain Comet, but lost out to rival buy-out firm Opcapita.