Matchesfashion, the luxury e-tailer, is preparing for a sale; sources reveal £600m price tag

matchesfashion.com UP FOR SALE

Matchesfashion, the luxury e-tailer, is reported to be in the sights of a group of private equity buyers as its founders and majority owners prepare to sell a major stake.

It’s been rumoured to be preparing for a sale for some time, although it’s still unclear whether Tom and Ruth Chapman would be prepared to sell full control of the firm they founded and whether investment funds would be ready to spend hundreds of millions without being able to control the business.

According to Sky News, Apax Partners, KKR, Permira and Bain Capital are interested in the 30-year-old company with a potential price of at least £600m being talked about. 

Apart from the Chapmans, its minority shareholders include Scottish Equity Partners and Highland Capital. They bought their stakes for £32m in 2012 and we should know fairly soon exactly what each party intends to do as bids are due in the next few weeks.

The company is clearly in demand and that’s no surprise. Established in 1987 as a physical store business, it now has only three stores but a massive high-end global e-tail empire. Financial results, published for the first time this year, showed turnover up 61% in the year to January to £204m with ebitda surging sixfold to £19m. The purchase price of the firm would actually relate to this year’s figures and they’re likely to show even higher sales, and higher profits too after years of investment has started to really pay off for the bottom line.

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