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Management team takes full control at Mountain Warehouse in £85 million deal

The management team of outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse has taken full control of the business following the acquisition of a minority shareholding from LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Management team takes full control at Mountain Warehouse in £85 million deal

The management team of outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse has taken full control of the business following the acquisition of a minority shareholding from LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.

The £85 million deal, which was led by Mountain Warehouse founder and chief executive Mark Neale, was backed by Royal Bank of Scotland and Alcentra.

The transaction has enabled the Mountain Warehouse team to take full ownership of the 169-strong chain, while providing an exit for LDC which acquired a significant minority shareholding in August 2010 as part of a £47 million buyout.

Since LDC’s investment, Mountain Warehouse has grown its turnover £47.5 million to £75.6 million in the year ending February 2013. The retailer has also opened 60 stores and created over 500 jobs in the period.

Commenting on the deal, Neale said: “We have had fantastic support from LDC in helping us expand the business despite tough market conditions. Having had four private equity investors over the last 16 years, we have now taken the opportunity to buy back full control and to push ahead with our exciting expansion plans. I am delighted that RBS and Alcentra are backing the team for this important next phase of growth.”

Neale said that he now sees potential to expand to 300 stores across Europe and to grow Mountain Warehouse’s online business, which is now shipping to more than 100 countries.
The retailer has seen like-for-like sales increase by around 10% in the year to date with online sales more than doubling.

Bertie Aykroyd, investment director at LDC, said: “Mark and his team have delivered a strong performance in some of the most difficult conditions the retail sector has seen for many years. Thanks to a clear strategy, a highly capable team and a strong proposition, they’ve taken the business to the next level where it can now continue to grow and develop.”

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