3i acquires a minority share in GO Outdoors

13 Apr 2011
  • New equity investment enables GO Outdoors to implement further growth plans
  • Existing shareholders maintain interests and remain committed to GO Outdoor’s strategy

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. The total value of this growth capital investment amounts to £28 million and will be used to realize further growth of GO Outdoors. The founders and management of GO Outdoors, will continue to hold significant stakes in the company and fully support the transaction, alongside existing investor YFM Equity Partners.

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 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.

For further information, please contact:

GO Outdoors:
Sian Morgan, COW
Tel.:  +44 (0) 7909 700 606
sian@cowpr.com

3i:
Isabel Unsworth, 3i PR Manager
Tel:  +44 (0) 20 7975 3190
Isabel.Unsworth@3i.com

Notes To Editors
About GO Outdoors:

Go Outdoors is a leading specialist retailer of outdoor clothing and equipment. Since its management buy-out in 1998, the company has grown to 30 retail outlets across the UK with more than 1,300 employees. It has new stores in Inverness, Exeter, Warrington and Ipswich which are due to open in Summer 2011. In 2010 GO Outdoors realized a turnover of £115 million. Go Outdoors is headquartered in Sheffield.

www.gooutdoors.co.uk

About 3i:
3i is an international investor focused on Private EquityInfrastructure andDebt Management, investing in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Our competitive advantage  omes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our business relationships. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio, shareholders and fund investors.

www.3i.com