Clearwater International advises on acquisition of Ideal Shopping Direct

Private equity funds managed by Blackstone announce the acquisition of Ideal Shopping Direct (“ISD”), a leading independent multi-channel retailer, from Inflexion. Clearwater International advised the management of ISD on the deal.

ISD operates live and pre-recorded channels across all the major UK TV platforms; Sky, Freeview, Virgin Media and Freesat as well as multiple internet sites. Its two principal divisions are Create & Craft and Ideal World.  ISD delivers a dynamic shopping experience selling specialty craft products to dedicated crafting hobbyists as well as home, leisure, health, beauty and fashion products. Create & Craft is the only dedicated channel to sell specialist craft products and operates 15 hours a day.

Headquartered in Peterborough in the UK and with a growing operation in the US, the company has over 800 employees and, through its TV networks, reaches over 26 million homes. The experienced management team will continue to be led by Mike Hancox, Chief Executive since 2008. Gerry Murphy, a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone and former CEO of both Kingfisher and Carlton Communications (ITV), will become Chairman.

The transaction is expected to close later this year and is subject to usual closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Clearwater International CEO Michael Reeves, partner Gareth Iley and associate Mark Gillingham advised the management of ISD on the transaction.

“ISD has succeeded by delivering a varied and exciting range of exclusive products and a great shopping experience to its loyal home shoppers through its websites and mobile platforms. We look forward to working with Mike and his team to capitalise on growth opportunities in omni-channel retailing in the UK and the US.”

Gerry Murphy, Senior Managing Director, Blackstone

“We see our future collaboration with Blackstone as a new development opportunity for ISD, from both a geographical and operational stand point. ISD will benefit from Blackstone’s international experience and expertise and from new investment as we enter this next phase of growth.”

Mike Hancox, Chief Executive Officer, ISD

“ISD has a fantastic history of innovation and growth and the acquisition by Blackstone will allow this business to continue to develop. We look forward to watching its ongoing expansion both internationally and through new and emerging routes to market.”

Michael Reeves, CEO, Clearwater International