Mountain Warehouse ends private equity backing and takes full control

The management team of Mountain Warehouse is now in full ownership of the business after buying out a stake held by private equity firm LDC.

Mid market investor LDC has exited its interest in outdoor retailer Mountain Warehouse following a three-year involvement with the business.

The £85 million acquisition has been led by the company’s CEO Mark Neale, and the management team, and has been facilitated with support form Royal Bank of Scotland and Alcentra.

Back in August 2010, LDC led a £47 million buy-out – taking on a ‘significant’ minority stake as part of the transaction. The firm acquired the shareholding from Icelandic investment fund KCAJ.

Since that period Mountain Warehouse has grown revenues from £47.5 million to £75.6 million and now opened 60 stores with 500 staff during the period.

Neale founded the business in 2007, with a first site in Swindon, and is aiming to grow the business to 300 stores across Europe.

‘We have had fantastic support from LDC in helping us expand the business despite tough market conditions,’ Neale says.

‘Having had four private equity investors over the last 16 years, we have now taken the opportunity to buy back full control and to push ahead with our exciting expansion plans.’

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Although the exact return for LDC is undisclosed, the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank says that the transaction delivers a ‘strong return’ – more than doubling its original investment.

Bertie Aykroyd, investment director at LDC, comments, ‘Mark [Neale] and his team have delivered a strong performance in some of the most difficult conditions the retail sector has seen for many years.

‘Thanks to a clear strategy, a highly capable team and a strong position, they’ve taken the business to the next level where it can now continue to grow and develop.’

LDC’s 2013 dealmaking has seen the firm close 18 new investments worth £350 million alongside further portfolio support of £40 million.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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