Clearwater sources investor for Jojo Maman Bébé

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The consumer team at Clearwater Corporate Finance has advised Laura Tenison, the founder and managing director of specialist multi-channel baby, nursery and maternity retailer, JoJo Maman Bébé, on securing an equity investment for a minority stake in the business from funds advised by Magenta Partners.

JoJo Maman Bébé has seen a 50% increase in sales from £18 million to £27 million in the two years from July 2009 to June 2011. Pre-tax profits have increased from 4% in the year ending 2009 to a forecast of 8% for year ending June 2011. There has also been a 33% increase in headcount, with the business now employing 350 people, up from 241 in June 2009.

Clearwater worked with Laura Tenison to source the right equity backer for JoJo Maman Bébé and structured the deal with funds advised by Magenta, whose principal founder investors are the Singh Family Trusts. Tom Singh, founder of New Look, is one of the UK’s leading retail entrepreneurs.

Gareth Iley, director at Clearwater, said: “We had long been admirers of Laura Tenison and the way in which she and the management team at JoJo Maman Bébé have developed such a successful multi-channel retail model.

“Laura has now found the right investor that will provide growth capital to the business, and Magenta will work alongside her to strengthen the management team and grow the business. This deal is testament to the faith that private equity investors continue to show in the consumer sector for businesses with a strong proposition and brand, and adds to our experience of advising entrepreneurs on these specialist transactions.”

JoJo Maman Bébé was founded in 1993 by female entrepreneur, Laura Tenison, who was named Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year in 2010 and was awarded an MBE for services to business in 2004. Tenison launched the business as a specialist maternity wear and baby clothing company and, in the past six years, the retail business has grown organically into a multi-channel operator, now with 36 stores across the UK and employing 350 people.

Laura Tenison said: “This is a unique business founded on a strict moral and ethical code of conduct. We have traded well throughout the economic downturn with positive LFL figures. Despite being courted by equity funds for many years, we have only now found our ideal financial investor who rates these core brand values.

“We are delighted to be working with Magenta to grow the business in a sustainable manner, and to open up new opportunities that were out of the reach of our organic growth plan.”

Chase Emson, partner of Magenta, who joins the board of JoJo Maman Bébé, added: “This business presents a fantastic opportunity for us to work alongside an exciting and entrepreneurial management team in the next stage of growth for this niche multi-channel retailer.

“We intend to work with the management team to help expand the business in the UK and capitalise on international growth opportunities. Our extensive experience within the retail sector will enable us to bring incremental value to this already successful business.”

A team at Squire Sanders Hammonds provided legal advice to JoJo Maman Bébé.

Clearwater sources investor for Jojo Maman Bébé
L-R: Richard Shaw (Clearwater), Laura Tenison (JoJo Maman Bébé) and Chase Emson (Magenta)