Bensons for Beds and Harveys Furniture are to be sold by owner Steinhoff to specialist investor Alteri.
The sale of the two retailers’ parent, Blue Group Hold Co Ltd, also includes manufacturers Relyon, Steinhoff UK Beds and Formation Furniture.
Bensons and Harveys have 269 stores between them. The group, including manufacturing sites and distribution centres, employs about 2,700 people and generates sales of £500m a year.
The value of the deal between Alteri Investors and Steinhoff International Holdings NV was not disclosed, but it comes at a difficult time for big-ticket retailers, which have suffered in tough trading conditions and fragile consumer confidence.
Alteri, which also is the majority shareholder of BrightHouse in the UK, said it would work with the retailers’ management team “to develop the strategy to transform the group’s profitability”. The deal is being funded by Alteri’s second investment vehicle, launched in August, with the backing of funds connected to Apollo Global Management Inc.
Alteri Investors founder and chief executive Gavin George said: “This is exactly the type of investment opportunity our second fund was launched to find – trusted retail brands with strong management and the potential for profitable growth.
“We are confident that our operational capabilities, alongside the injection of fresh capital, can help to build a market-leading, vertically integrated business with a strong omnichannel presence.”
Blue Group chief executive Mark Jackson said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Alteri. Throughout the sale process, they have demonstrated an in-depth understanding of our business and their expertise, not least in digital, will help turbo-charge our plans to drive the performance of the group.”
The deal comes two years after Steinhoff was embroiled in an accounting scandal that threatened to destroy it.
Steinhoff Group chief executive Louis du Preez said: “The sale of Blue Group is the latest in a series of planned divestments by Steinhoff as we continue with our announced strategy of simplifying the portfolio and deleveraging our balance sheet.”