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Enter the dragon: Robert Dyas sold to Theo Paphitis

Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis has bought the 140-year-old hardware retailer Robert Dyas in a deal understood to be worth about £10 million.

Mr Paphitis, who is chairman of stationery chain Ryman but more well-known for his long-standing role on the BBC entrepreneurship series, acquired the 96-strong chain through his wholly-owned company Gladys Emmanuel.

Mr Paphitis, 52, who has an estimated net worth of £210million and also owns lingerie chain Boux Avenue, said: 'It is a business which fits well with my investment criteria and I'm looking forward to working with the management team who have done an excellent job in getting Robert Dyas to where it is today.'

Lloyds Banking Group, the largest shareholder in Robert Dyas with a 40 per cent stake, hired advisers earlier this year to explore options for the business including a sale.

Robert Dyas has around 100 stores and employs more than 1,000 people.

The group had a torrid time at the hands of its former owners, Luc Vandevelde’s private equity fund Change Capital.

Change bought Dyas in 2004 for £61m, but the group’s lenders were forced to step in during 2009 to prevent it entering administration.

By the time it was rescued through a management buyout, it had racked up debts of £70m and was valued at just £30m.

Lloyds and Allied Irish Bank offered to take on the firm’s debt in return for an equity stake in the group, and both have since been looking to sell the firm.

Source :

14 July 2012
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