The stake is being acquired from founders Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker, who will retain a significant minority stake and remain Co-CEOs of the company. Index Ventures, which currently holds a minority stake, will fully exit. The transaction will close on April 1, 2021.
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Newcastle, UK, END. is an online seller of luxury and contemporary fashion, including a range of sneakers and streetwear. The company partners with more than 500 designers and brands and has developed an engaged and loyal customer base through its collaborations and omnichannel offering, including its online platform, mobile apps and physical stores.
END. operates three stores in London, Newcastle and Glasgow.
The company employs more than 650 people in the UK and ships to over 100 countries. On March 31, 2020, END. generated revenues of £170 million, of which 65 percent related to sales outside of the UK.
The Carlyle Group will support END.’s expansion, both in the domestic UK market and internationally. Equity for the investment will be provided by Carlyle Europe Partners (CEP) V, a €6.4bn fund investing in European opportunities across a range of sectors and industries and an affiliate of Carlyle Asia Partners (CAP) V, a US$6.6bn fund focused on buyout and strategic investments across a range of sectors in the Asia Pacific region.
Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker, co-founders and co-CEOs, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Carlyle as our new partner. Their experience and strong track record in Luxury and Streetwear will be invaluable to us in supporting END.’s long-term and sustainable growth strategy. Carlyle’s industry knowledge and truly global platform will be instrumental as END. continues to reach an increasingly international audience. We’d also like to thank Index Ventures for being a fantastic partner and great to work with over the last 7 years.”
Massimiliano Caraffa, managing director leading Consumer & Retail for the Carlyle Europe Partners advisory team, said: “We are attracted to END.’s distinctive style, which mixes luxury and contemporary brands with the best in sneakers and sportswear. We are excited by the many growth opportunities that lie ahead for the company, including the launch of womenswear as well as further international expansion.”
Patrick Siewert, managing director for the Carlyle Asia Partners advisory team, said: “Christiaan and John have built a unique offering in the market and we look forward to supporting END. through leveraging our strategic industry knowledge and global network, while staying true to the company’s core values that have supported its success to date.”
The investment in END. builds on Carlyle’s long-term global focus on the consumer sector, a sector in which the firm has invested over $20 billion to date. A core component of Carlyle’s strategy has been to grow brands through international expansion. Recent exits in the consumer space include Golden Goose and Supreme.
The Carlyle Group was advised by Morgan Stanley and RBC (M&A) and Latham & Watkins (Legal). The sellers were advised by Goldman Sachs (M&A) and Womble Bond Dickinson (Legal).
Photo courtesy END.