Simon Mottram

Walmart heirs snap up British cycling brand in £200m deal

US-based RZC Investments has acquired a majority stake in cycling lifestyle brand Rapha in a £200m deal.

Rapha has been owned since its launch by Simon Mottram and a group of founder shareholders, including lead investor Active Partners.

The company has always had bold ambitions to elevate the sport of cycling and drive participation at all levels.

This led to the introduction of new approaches to content and marketing and to omni-channel retail and customer engagement through the Rapha Clubhouses in key cities, the global Rapha Cycling Club (RCC), the in-house Rapha Travel business, and global Rapha events series.

Rapha has also expanded rapidly overseas. It is now selling through 20 local websites, shipping to over 100 countries and operating 17 clubhouses in major cities around the world, with seven new clubhouses opening by the end of this year alone.

The business has grown by more than 25% every year, has been profitable since 2009 and now has more than 200,000 active customers and 450 employees.

RZC Investments is now backing Rapha founder Simon Mottram and his leadership team to deliver the next phase of their strategy.

The acquisition will allow Rapha to roll out its clubhouse network, membership club and range of products and services, expand its reach globally and strengthen its leadership position in cycling.

Mottram will remain as chief executive and has retained a significant part of his stake in the business.

He said: “This is an exciting day for Rapha. It heralds the start of the next stage of our journey and is testament to the growth and potential that people see in Rapha and in cycling.

“The arrival of RZC Investments as a shareholder means we can pursue our mission to elevate cycling as a global sport and recruit more participants by engaging them and enabling them to ride with us at all levels.

“Support from RZC Investments will allow us to further expand our active global community of cyclists, develop even better and more innovative products and services to enhance cyclists’ lives and inspire many more people to take up the world’s greatest sport.”

Steuart Walton, co-founder of RZC Investments, added: “Rapha represents the very best in the world of cycling. Our investment demonstrates our enthusiasm for its quality products, amazing community of cyclists and customers and its strong future.

“Rapha’s strategic vision has set the company on a path of tremendous growth and opportunity. We’re excited to be part of this next chapter by bringing the best sport in the world to more people in more ways and places.”

William Blair, Pinsent Masons and Withers advised the company on the transaction.

Published: 09 August 2017

Article by Bryce Wilcock
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