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Barclays Private Equity backs £44 million management buy-out of Antler Group

09 Jun 2004

Antler Group Limited has been bought by its management team with backing from Barclays Private Equity in a £44 million transaction. Based in Lancashire, Antler is internationally recognised as the UK’s leading luggage brand. The buy-out results in Barclays Private Equity owning a substantial stake in the business, with the management holding the balance.  

Barclays Private Equity is the UK’s foremost mid-market private equity investor and lists Consumer and Travel as one of its four specialist sectors. Antler is the latest in a series of investments Barclays Private Equity has made in the sector, with investees including Hobbs, DCK Concessions, Frank Thomas and Salter Housewares, which was sold in April.  

Antler has grown consistently over the last few years on the back of its market leading design and development of travel goods solutions sold through its comprehensive customer base. The business commands in excess of 20 per cent of the quality luggage market.  

Both Antler and Barclays Private Equity recognise that the dynamic market for luggage and travel goods systems presents an ideal opportunity to further invest, expand and develop its leading position. It is forecasted by Mintel that the market will continue to grow at a rate CAGR five per cent.  

The company sells its own Antler and Revelation branded luggage lines, and supplies selected retailers with own-label products. It is also a prominent player in the Australian, South African and Hong Kong markets and has plans for further development internationally.  

Pat Bridge, Joint Managing Director of Antler, commented: “In February we launched our new range, which has been extremely well received by consumers. We are now looking to invest even more in product development to improve and expand our range in the UK and internationally. Barclays Private Equity has the branded goods experience to help and support our ambitious expansion plans.” 

Anton Wellenreiter, the Director who led the investment for Barclays Private Equity, added: “Antler is a well run business and a widely recognised brand. We look forward to working with Antler’s management and supporting their plans for future growth.”  

Peter Laughton, whom Barclays Private Equity successfully backed in the buy-out and subsequent sale of Frank Thomas, will join the Antler board as a non-executive Director, bringing a high degree of brand and overseas experience to assist in the further expansion of the business.  

Bank facilities were provided by Bank of Scotland Corporate Banking, which has a long standing relationship with the company.  

Barclays Private Equity were advised by PricewaterhouseCoopers and Addleshaw Goddard. The vendors, Royal Bank Equity Finance were advised by Cavendish Corporate Finance and Dickson Minto.

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