LDC has successfully backed the management buyout of Zyro, with the business also acquiring Fisher Outdoor Leisure creating a combined group with sales of £70m.
The new investment will enable the merger of the two businesses and further develop their distribution capabilities, with operations proposed to be consolidated at Zyro’s purpose-built facility in Darlington, bringing additional service benefits for the growing portfolio of brand partners and its customer base. It will also enable further investment in its successful proprietary clothing, luggage and accessories brand, Altura.
Zyro was established over 20 years ago by husband and wife team Simon and Julie Ellison, growing quickly to become a leading specialist distributor of cycling accessories and clothing brands, supplying major retailers such as Halfords, Evans and Wiggle, as well as over 1,500 independent dealers. Fisher Outdoor Leisure, established over 70 years ago, meanwhile specialises in the distribution of cycle componentry, serving a similar breadth of customers making the two businesses highly complementary.
The UK cycling market has experienced growth in recent years, helped by the success of Team GB in the 2012 Olympic Games, Sir Bradley Wiggins becoming the first Brit to win the Tour de France, together with the wider success of British cycling. More than two million people across the UK currently cycle at least once a week, according to British Cycling, the sport's governing body.
Matthew Barker, a Director of Zyro for the past four years, is appointed as Zyro-Fisher CEO and will be supported by former Fisher CEO James Browning, who becomes Chairman. Zyro founders Simon and Julie Ellison will join the board as Directors along with John Garner and Ben Snow of LDC.
Simon Ellison, founder of Zyro and Director of Zyro-Fisher, said: “We are very excited about the future of the combined business. It brings together a very powerful portfolio of brands, while the separate sales and brand management structure will ensure we continue to offer the best brand and customer focus in the industry.”
James Browning, Chairman of Zyro-Fisher, said: "Our industry is clearly entering a consolidation phase and I am delighted with the combination of these two strong and complementary companies to create a scale player able to offer future-proof service and solutions to its partners.”
Matthew Barker, CEO of Zyro-Fisher, said: “In the rapidly developing cycling market, the combination of Zyro and Fisher will ensure we maximise the potential of our brand partners and provide exceptional support and service to our customers.”
John Garner, Head of LDC Yorkshire & North East, said: “This is an exciting development for the combined business, its brand partners and its customers, creating a company with a truly differentiated proposition in terms of scale, reach and value-added services. Together, the board and management team bring an unrivalled level of expertise, which will help to deliver a clear growth strategy in an evolving sector. ”
Ben Snow, LDC Investment Director, added: “This deal highlights the ability of private equity to act as a catalyst in creating major players and consolidating fragmented markets. This is also a classic example of the type of business LDC is keen to back – differentiated, ambitious and highly-scalable.”
Banking facilities for the transaction were provided by the Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking team in Leeds, including its acquisition finance team.
LDC was advised by Park Place Corporate Finance, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, KPMG and Squire Patton Boggs, whilst Zyro was advised by KPMG and Addleshaw Goddard. Freeths acted for Management with Fisher Outdoor Leisure advised by Springboard Corporate Finance and Gowling WLG.