Bicycle retailer Ribble Cycles has been acquired by investment firm True Capital. The deal was advised on by M&A advisors from Jones Day, PwC, Napthens and Moore and Smalley.
Founded in the middle of the great bicycle boom of 1897, Ribble Cycles has over the past 100+ years grown to an international retailer of bikes, components and accessories. The company also boats a large e-commerce footprint – its online channels serve over 75,000 customers per year, offering a range of more than 13,000 SKUs.
Last week, True Capital, a London-based investment firm that focuses solely on the retail and consumer sector, unveiled that it had acquired Cyclesport North, the parent of Ribble Cycles, from the Dove family, who retain a significant stake in the business. With the move, the private equity firm aims at steering Ribble Cycles towards accelerated growth. A recent analysis from Consultancy.uk revealed that the number of bikes bought in the UK has increased between 2008 and 2014, up from 3.3 million in 2008 to 3.6 million last year, and looking ahead, favourable market conditions are expected to spur further growth. Factors driving growth include growing participation in cycling, the Government’s commitment to improving the sports infrastructure and the changing consumer attitudes to their health and wellbeing.
“We have been tracking Ribble Cycles for some time and are delighted to be able to join forces with the Dove family,” says Paul Cocker, who co-founded True Capital in October 2012 together with Matt Truman*. As part of the deal, Cocker and Truman will work alongside the existing management team to create and execute strategies, with “selected acquisitions” on the table, acknowledges Cocker.
James Dove, Ribble's Managing Director, comments: “True Capital shares our vision for the next stage of Ribble’s growth and their sector specialist knowledge and understanding of the market coupled with the appreciation of our culture make them the right partner for the future development of the business. We look forward to expanding our offering, accelerating our growth and continuing to deliver exceptional customer service to our global audience.”
The transaction was supported by four external advisory firms. PwC provided True Capital with financial, tax and IT due diligence, as well as tax structuring support. The Big Four’s team was led by Joel Smith, Nick Cook and Simon Viner. “Joel and the team provided excellent, focussed advice throughout the transaction. They quickly identified the material issues and worked with us in a constructive way to allow us to resolve them in accordance with the overall transaction timetable,” comments Cocker. Jones Day, led by Pat Stafford, provided legal advisory to the buyer. The Dove family was advised by Napthens, led by Corporate Finance partner Richard Robinson, and Moore and Smalley, led by Tony Medcalf.
* Both Cocker and Truman have a history with Deloitte; Truman spent four years with the firm between 2000 and 2004, while Cocker served the Big Four giant for six years.