True Capital announced the majority acquisition of Blackbird Retail Holdings, owner of one of the UK’s largest online furniture retailers, The Cotswold Company. The firm will partner with the existing management team to lead the company through its next stage of growth, using its sector specialist expertise to accelerate online growth, expand product and category ranges and increase The Cotswold Company’s showroom footprint across the UK.
Founded in 1996, The Cotswold Company was acquired by Blackbird Retail Holdings in a purchase led by Kevin Johnson and James Birtwhistle in 2009. The company sells high quality oak, pine, painted furniture and accessories with a market leading value proposition. The company handles over 100,000 orders every year from its 170,000 sq ft warehouse in Wednesbury. The business, which generates annual revenues in excess of £35m has delivered strong compound annual sales and EBITDA growth over the last four years, and with True Capital’s support it is very well positioned to continue that trajectory.
The online retail furniture market has grown rapidly in recent years with double digit growth, and is expected to keep growing at a compound annual growth (CAGR) of around 13% to 2020, according to Verdict and Forrester research.
Gordon Segal, founder of the US based $1bn turnover furniture retailer Crate&Barrel, whose family office, Prairie Management Group, is a significant investor in the True Capital fund, will play an active role in the company, particularly around product, real estate and supply chain following the transaction.
Matt Truman, CEO and co-founder of True Capital comments: “In The Cotswold Company we identified a strong business exposed to the right structural growth trends, with excellent financial metrics, driven and executed by exceptional founders and a world class management team. Gordon Segal’s involvement in this acquisition is another great example of our sector ecosystem and I am sure he will prove to be a fantastic asset for the company going forward.”
Kevin Johnson, CEO of The Cotswold Company, comments: “In True Capital we have found a partner to take our business to the next level, whilst allowing us to adopt new technologies that will benefit our customers’ experiences. Throughout the process, which took just eight weeks, it was evident that the professionalism, experience, spirit of partnership and retail network that True Capital will bring to our business is second to none.”
True Capital was advised by Jones Day and PwC. The shareholders of Blackbird Retail Holdings were advised by Livingstone Partners, JDC Corporate Finance and Pinsent Masons.