Sky News reports that Apax Partners, KKR, Permira and Bain Capital are among the potential bidders for Matchesfashion.com with a purchase price of around £600 million for the 30-year-old business.
That would mean founders Tom and Ruth Chapman pocketing a £300 million-plus windfall as they still own a controlling stake…. or at least it would if they sell out completely. It’s unclear just how much of the company will be sold. Sources have said the Chapmans might prefer to sell only a minority stake or at least choose to retain a significant holding after the sale. But it’s also believed that the private equity groups bidding would want control of the firm.
Other minority shareholders include Scottish Equity Partners and Highland Capital, which paid £32 million for their stakes in 2012.
The company published its financial results for the first time this year and said that in the year to January its sales rose 61% to £204 million and earnings on an Ebitda basis rose more than sixfold to £19 million. Any buyout though would be made on the current year’s figures and they’re likely to be even higher.
Matchesfashion.com has recently signed a lease for 22,000 square feet at Here East, in Queen Elizabeth Olympic park. The luxury fashion retailer is set to open a state of the art design, photography and video production studio. The new studio, which will create 150 new jobs over the next four years, will help Matchesfashion.com increase its visual content output as part of its wider digital ambitions.
Following the opening of the studio, Matchesfashion.com will be able to produce online content for more than 2000 products a week, nearly doubling its current content output online. “Creating the best visual user experience is at the heart of everything we do – we are renowned for the content we produce in house and this move to Here East, and our investment in a new creative space, will help us to achieve our plans to generate even more innovative and engaging content for our brands and our customer,” said Ulric Jerome, CEO, Matchesfashion.com in a statement.
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