Former Northamptonshire county cricketer and Chairman of Copyright Promotions until its recent sale to DIC, Matthew Wheeler, is to become non-executive chairman of the UK’s leading supplier of licensed children’s clothing, following a management buy-out backed by Penta Capital and Allied Irish Bank (GB).
Blues Clothing designs clothing for toddlers, children and adults, using licensed characters such as Disney, Bratz, Spiderman, Power Rangers, Fifi and the Flowertots and many others.
The deal was negotiated by Livingstone Partners, the mid-market investment banking boutique, and enables the founder, who established the business thirty five years ago, to scale back his involvement. He will remain as a non-executive Director of Blues.The Blues team, led by James Twist, will be seeking to expand the company organically as well as by acquisition, under the chairmanship of Matthew Wheeler and with the support of Paul Holmes, Blues’ new finance director who joined as part of the transaction.
Daniel Domberger, the member of Livingstone’s Consumer team who negotiated the transaction, says: “Blues proved highly attractive to a number of potential investors. The company has a market-leading portfolio of successful licenses, backed up by a team with exceptional design and sourcing skills, ensuring that Blues produces attractive and high-quality products. We were delighted to do the deal with Penta, who very early in the process built a close relationship of trust with the management team, and demonstrated their ability rapidly to become comfortable with an otherwise intricate and subtle industry”.
“We were delighted to be able to introduce Matthew to this opportunity. Like Kinnerton, the leading licensed confectionery manufacturer that we sold in 2005, Blues has expanded steadily to lead its category, and the support of Penta sees it well-positioned to continue to grow,” adds Simon Cope-Thompson, head of Livingstone’s Consumer team.
The founder of Blues said: “I was impressed how quickly the Livingstone team understood the unique features of the industry, and how valuable this detailed understanding became as the deal progressed. They were totally dedicated, patient, and tenacious, always working to add value and make sure it was the right deal for the business”.
Mark Phillips of Penta Capital commented: “This is the second deal we’ve done recently with Livingstone’s Consumer team, and their commercial and pragmatic problem-solving approach really helps get the deal done – whichever side of the table they’re on”.
For further information contact Retail Sector Team Leader:
Tel: + 44 2- 7484 4706