Rapha mulls sale as cycling boom continues
Rapha may have stayed tight-lipped late last year when the rumour mill confused LVMH’s interest in Pinarello with an interest in Rapha itself, but it seems the brand really is up for sale now.
While it’s still saying nothing about a possible sale, the UK-based cycling equipment, apparel and lifestyle retailer is believed to have appointed investment bank William Blair to oversee the process that is likely to lead to it changing hands. An IPO is also being considered but the sale option is seen as most likely, Sky News reported.
The business, which is part-owned by private equity firm Active, has seen soaring revenues on the back of the rising cycling trend. And a basket of factors from government health initiatives, road safety spending to add more cycling lanes and even health stories about cycling’s ability to cut the chance of a variety of diseases, all mean that the sales surge is likely to continue. In the year to January, revenues rose 30% to £63m on the back of rising interest in the brand in global markets.
Road cycling is the biggest sports category globally with estimates that the total market is worth $467bn a year. That market size is making cycling brands increasingly attractive to big business groups, as LVMH’s private equity arm’s December purchase of Pinarello proved.
Rapha was founded 13 years ago by branding consultant Simon Mottram who disliked the overpowering colours of cycle-wear at the time. He later sold a stake to Active.
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