Retail and consumer sector mergers and acquisitions comment – March 2008


This month Clearwater completed another deal in the Retail and Consumer Products sector with the sale of Neville Johnson, a designer, manufacturer and installer of premium fitted furniture to private equity house, Key Capital. This deal signifies continuing interest by private equity in the sector and further adds and strengthens Clearwater’s deal portfolio in the sector to seven deals in the past year.

Deals completed in the UK

Clearwater Corporate Finance advises Endless private equity and management on the secondary buy out of Neville Johnson. Neville Johnson the designer, manufacturer and installer of premium fitted furniture for the home, has seen private equity owner Endless sell to fellow private equity house Key Capital. Management and Endless were advised by Clearwater Corporate Finance. Endless bought the group two years ago.

Dialaphone sold to Phones 4U in £60m deal. Dialaphone, the British consumer website, has been bought by UK-based mobile-phone group Phones 4U it has been reported. The transaction is said to worth £60m.

Dreams owners agree sale to Exponent Private Equity. The founders of Dreams have agreed to sell the bed-retail empire to private equity house Exponent. Carol and Michael Clare are estimated to have received £230m for the retailer they set up 22 years ago. Clare is to be the new president of the business, in which he is thought likely to reinvest £20m it has been reported.

WHSmith has acquired UNS Group for £19m. The transaction will strengthen WHSmith’s presence in hospitals across the UK. UNS Hospitals trades as United News and has 72 retail units and 8 Caffe Nuovo coffee shops in 62 hospitals throughout the UK.

Fenwick Ltd has acquired Williams & Griffin Ltd, a Colchester-based department store operator for an undisclosed sum. Mark Fenwick, Chairman of Fenwick, said: “Williams & Griffin is a good strategic fit for Fenwick and will sit well with our current portfolio.”

Deals completed in other countries

Dutch Ardenberg Groep, acquires Bitter Shoes. Ardenberg is the owner of shoe retail chains Dr Adams, Nike Retail and Timberland. The transaction value was not disclosed.

Dutch business, Dico a bed and bedroom furniture supplier acquires 18 shops of TB Holding. Dico is a wholesaler to major retail chains and these are the first stores for the business with16 stores being based in the Netherlands and 2 in Belgium. The deal value was not disclosed.

Dutch private equity group Noorderhuys acquires majority of Du Pon & De Bruin. Du Pon & De Bruin is a private label manufacturer of ladies apparel in the Netherlands. The business has gone on to acquire Starline a ladies fashion business. Deal values were not disclosed for either deal.

SPAR Hungary Ltd, acquires Plus Warenhandelsgesellschaft mbH. The Hungarian retailer, has agreed to acquire the Hungary based operations of Plus Warenhandelsgesellschaft mbH, a German chain of discount stores, from Tengelmann Group, the German food retailer, for an undisclosed consideration.

Rewe acquires 146 Plus-Discount stores in Czech Republic. Rewe, the German retail group, has acquired 146 Plus-Discount stores in the Czech Republic it has been reported. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

Fila European activities are acquired by Batra Brothers and Barclay Ventures. The European activities of Fila, the Italian fashion house, have been acquired by Barclay Ventures and Indian brothers Rajiv and Rajesh Batra. The deal value was reported to be £78.7m. The consideration is undisclosed.

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