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Victoria Plumb bought by private equity giant, TPG

One of Britain's leading bathroom retailers is to be snapped up by TPG, the private equity giant, in a deal that will catapult its owners into the ranks of the super-rich.

Sky News understands that TPG will announce on Tuesday a deal to acquire a majority stake in Victoria Plumb, which sells via the internet and mail order.

The exact value of the deal is unclear but is expected to be worth in the region of £200m, an insider said.

TPG has a long track record of investing in UK-based retailers, previously owning a stake in Debenhams, the department store group, and Republic, the fashion chain.

Victoria Plumb is owned by the Walker family, who are best-known for buying the MFI brand after the collapse of the kitchens and bathrooms retailer several years ago.

Walker Group acquired the rights to the MFI name in 2010 for a reported £250,000, and subsequently went on to buy the Focus DIY brand.

Victoria Plumb was launched in 2001 by brothers Sean and Jason Walker and has since grown rapidly

The most recent published accounts show that the Hull-based business recorded sales of £26.2m in the year to February 2013 and pre-tax profits of £6m.

A year earlier it reported sales of £19m and profits of £4.8m.

Employing more than 70 staff, Victoria Plumb competes with established high street names such as Bathstore, which has itself been put up for sale.

The sale has been handled by KPMG, the accountancy firm.

"We have been looking for high growth companies that fit into our investment theme of digital disruption," TPG Capital principal Malte Janzarik said in a statement. "Victoria Plumb represents an exciting opportunity to build one of the leading e-commerce companies in the U.K."

Source : Mark Kleinman - Sky News

01 April 2014

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