Cycles etailer Wiggle has today been acquired by private equity firm Bridgepoint in a £180m deal.
Wiggle, which sells bikes as well as cycling and triathlon gear online, entered exclusive talks with Bridgepoint this week, and has fought off stiff competition from private equity firms including EQT.
The etailer’s former owner Isis had been running a dual-track process whereby it was considering a float as well as a sale. However, market conditions made any attempt at an IPO difficult.
At present Wiggle operates in about 70 countries. Overseas business accounts for 60% of Wiggle’s turnover and that is expected to grow.
The global cycling market is estimated to have been worth £25bn last year.
Cobbold said: “We are delighted to have a new partner and owner in Bridgepoint, and would like to thank ISIS for being a fantastic supporter of Wiggle, its 200 colleagues, suppliers and brands over the past five years.
“Bridgepoint is highly experienced and successful in investing in growing retail and consumer businesses, and has an extensive international network which matches Wiggle’s international strategy and growth aspirations, and will be a significant benefit to continuing the strong growth.”
Bridgepoint partner Vince Gwilliamm said: “Wiggle is benefitting from strong structural market drivers such as the shift to online retailing combined with the trend towards fitness and the increasing popularity of cycling as a pastime. In addition, it has had a strong track record of profitable organic growth.”
In the year to January 31, EBITDA climbed from £7.5m to £10.5m while turnover rocketed 55% to £86m.