UK's SportPursuit and France's Private Sport Shop to merge
The sports market continues to go from strength to strength and that means we’re seeing plenty of launches and deals at the moment. The latest deal is for a UK business backed by the former Boots chain chief Richard Baker and a French one owned by one of the major names in private equity.
Britain’s SportPursuit, which is part of Baker's bd-capital portfolio, is merging with France-based Private Sport Shop to form Sportscape Group, “creating Europe’s leading online e-commerce platform and community focused on sports and outdoor enthusiasts”.
They said on Tuesday that the merger “combines the leading positions in France and the UK and fast-growing presences in Germany. It brings together highly complementary category and product coverage, creating Europe’s most compelling destination for millions of current and prospective members looking for great sports and outdoor products at exceptional value”.
bd-capital is a pan-European, “operationally-led” private equity firm set up by Baker and a partner in 2019. Meanwhile Private Sport Shop is controlled by Bridgepoint Development Capital.
The combination of their two investments creates a business with more than €200 million worth of sales across France, UK, Germany and 10 other countries.
It also “accelerates the group’s shared vision to create Europe’s leading sports and outdoor hub: delivering daily inspiration, unbeatable deals, amazing brands and engaging content for sports and outdoor enthusiasts across Europe and beyond”.
The two membership businesses sell a wide variety of the best known sports brands, as well as more specialist labels, with a big focus on clothing, footwear and accessories.
The group will be led by Sébastien Rohart, the current CEO of Private Sport Shop. He’ll be supported by executives from both companies, with Adam Pikett, current CEO and co-founder of SportPursuit, taking up the role of Chief Vision Officer overseeing the strategy of the group. Both Luke Pikett, MD and co-founder of SportPursuit, and Yannick Leouffre, MD of Private Sport Shop, will continue to lead their respective businesses.
The companies said that the newly combined group “creates a powerful distribution channel for more than 2,500 existing brand partners with access to an audience of over 24 million sports and outdoor enthusiasts — 90-95% of the group’s daily traffic originates organically from its own audience. The merger also combines two unique and highly engaged digital and social communities with over 4 million followers”.
It will mean larger product and brand ranges for the customers of of the two retailers that will continue to operate as standalone consumer-facing brands in their home markets, “building on their strong consumer recognition and high repeat rates, which have been built over many years”.
They added that “technology will play an ever-increasing role in consumer-facing industries and Sportscape Group’s shared expertise in data analytics, custom algorithms and machine learning will further improve user experience, helping to create unique communications at a customer level, leading to higher engagement and lifetime value”.
Sébastien Rohart said: “The combination creates a European leader with a unique proposition for our customers and brand partners alike. In particular, the combination of Private Sport Shop’s huge sport coverage and social media presence with SportPursuit’s technology and data expertise creates significant additional growth opportunities, over and above what we could have created individually. We are very pleased to open this exciting chapter with the full backing of our shareholder Bridgepoint Development Capital who have been our highly supportive partner from the very beginning.”
Andrey Russinov, Director at bd-capital added: “We are focused on partnership and this merger creates both a partnership between two operational companies and two investors. The combination of SportPursuit and Private Sport Shop substantially increases the growth potential of both, and we are excited to support that growth alongside Bridgepoint and management.”
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