The owners of Sheffield-based GO Outdoors, the UK’s largest specialist retailer of camping equipment, tents, outdoor clothing and footwear, and 3i, the international private equity investment company, have agreed for 3i to acquire existing and newly issued GO Outdoors shares, representing a significant minority stake in the total share capital of GO Outdoors.
3i is backing the management team which has delivered rapid growth for GO Outdoors in recent years, through a strategy of locating its stores in large out-of-town locations offering an authoritative range of product at highly competitive prices. It currently operates from 30 stores with plans to expand to 70 outlets over the next four years. The team has been strengthened by the appointment of Colin Holmes as chairman, to replace outgoing Chairman John Lovering. Colin joins after a long and successful career at Tesco, where he led fast expansion of the superstore and convenience stores business, before delivering transformational change in the supply chain for fresh produce. David Whileman and Justin Maltz will join the board for 3i.
GO Outdoors’ differentiated business model offers the opportunity for substantial growth, both from further new store rollout and the maturing of the large number of recently opened stores, to take market share and create a ‘category killing’ retailer.
GO Outdoors will continue to be supported by its long term banking partner Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets who have supported GO Outdoors successful expansion from just 7 stores in 2008.
Paul Caplan, President and John Graham, CEO of GO Outdoors both said: “We are very excited by the capital injection and the partnership with 3i. GO Outdoors is a fast growing company with ambitious plans for the future. Through our unique business model, we can now extend our presence in the UK market through new store openings and further growth within our existing stores. We know that 3i is an experienced and capable partner who will make a significant contribution towards us in achieving our goals for the business.”
Justin Maltz, Director, 3i said: “3i’s investment in GO Outdoors is another great example of us backing entrepreneurial, market-leading businesses with a clear vision for growth. We have built a great partnership with management, to help them fulfill the company’s potential as a supportive minority investor and are already working on a number of key projects together to deliver this. The founders have done a fantastic job in building the business and we think Colin’s experience will support the next step up in scale perfectly. ”
3i were advised by Addleshaw Goddard (Yunus Seedat/Dahren Naidoo) with due diligence undertaken by Alvarez & Marsal (Adrian Balcombe/Mark McMenemy), Drivers Jonas Deloitte (Malcolm Hull) and Aon (Peter Casciani). The company was advised by Pannone (Philip Treanor) and PwC Corporate Finance (Stuart McKee/Tom Howard). BHP Corporate Finance (Stephen Ingram) acted as advisor to the founding shareholders.