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Potential Buyers Circle Matchesfashion

A number of prominent investment funds are preparing bids that could value the luxury fashion retailer at more than £600 million, according to a new report.
Matchesfashion.com in Notting Hill | Source: Matchesfashion.com
By
  • Tamara Abraham

LONDON, United Kingdom — BoF reported last month that Matchesfashion.com was exploring a sale. Now, a number of prominent investment funds are preparing bids that could value the luxury fashion retailer at more than £600 million ($775.8 million), according to a new report.

Apax Partners, KKR and Permira are all expected to place bids for Matchesfashion.com in the next few weeks, Sky News reports, with Bain Capital also mulling a bid. The site says the sale process is being run by Catalyst Corporate Finance.

Matchesfashion.com co-chairmen Tom and Ruth Chapman — who founded the company as a boutique in London's Wimbledon in 1987 and retain a majority stake — could enjoy a windfall of over £300 million if a sale at that valuation were to go ahead.

A representative for Matchesfashion.com said that they were unable to comment on speculation.

News of a potential sale comes comes five years after Matchesfashion.com raised £20 million ($26 million) in funding from venture capital firms Scottish Equity Partners and Highland Capital Europe. At this point in time, it would be natural for these investors to be looking for an exit.

In March, the company released its financial results for the first time, revealing 61 percent year-on-year growth. Matchesfashion.com reported record growth in all markets — 45 percent in the UK and over 80 percent in the rest of the world — with total online sales for 2016 up by 73 per cent.

Matchesfashion.com generates 95 percent of its revenue online, but also boasts four brick-and-mortar stores in London, as well as a private shopping townhouse. In May 2017, Matchesfashion.com also announced plans to establish a new space in London's Mayfair. Five Carlos Place will open in the autumn, and will host events, three floors of private shopping suites, and a two-floor retail store.

The company has also been investing heavily in technology since Ulric Jerome succeeded the Chapmans as chief executive in 2015; both the retail sites and the e-commerce business will soon rely on a new proprietary mobile point-of-sale app that will log every customer interaction, be it an e-commerce purchase or the attendance of an event.

The company’s online success comes 10 years after the luxury London boutique group ventured into e-commerce, which later contributed to a rebranding of the company as Matchesfashion.com in 2013.

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