Endless backs MBO of British luggage business Antler

Endless, the mid-market private equity investor, has completed a fourth investment in two weeks with the management buyout of multi-channel British luggage business Antler.

The deal marks a substantial exit for private equity house LDC, which first invested in Antler in 2010.  David Sharman, Chief Executive Officer, will continue to lead the company after the Endless buyout.

Headquartered in central London, Antler has a turnover of £35m, with 280 employees based in London and across 32 retail locations throughout the UK.

Established over 100 years ago Antler has a proud history of British design.  With operations in the UK, China and the USA, Antler designs and supplies a range of luggage across two brands, Antler and Revelation.  Amongst new lines launched recently is Atom, the award-winning, super-strong and lightweight product made from Armordon, a pioneering material developed and manufactured in the UK.

The deal was led by Endless Partner Tom Jack, who will join Antler’s board.  Mr Jack said: “We are delighted to have invested in this iconic British brand.  With fresh investment and hands-on support from Endless, we believe Antler is capable of delivering strong sales and profit growth in the future and we’re excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Endless Senior Partner Darren Forshaw added: “This is the fourth investment for Endless in a fortnight, following the recent acquisitions of Go Plant, CTI and Kennelpack, and reflects the strength in depth the Endless team has as it continues to invest in the UK mid-market.  This is increasingly looking like it will be a record year for us as this is our ninth investment already this calendar year.”

The investment is the latest from Endless’ £525m Fund IV and comes after a busy first half of 2017 which has also included the acquisitions of Jones Bootmaker, Theo Fennell, Arran Aromatics, Carpet & Flooring and Affinity Workforce, together with the exits of Karro Food Group, Excelsior Technologies and Imtech.

Simon Adcock, Senior Portfolio director at LDC said:

"LDC has successfully divested its majority shareholding in Antler to Endless but will retain a small minority stake, continuing our support for the business. 

This is a good outcome for all parties.  Bringing an external investor on board provides management with an opportunity to deliver their ambitious growth plan and to further invest in the Antler and Revelation brands both in the UK and overseas in what remains a growing market. 

With its reputation for quality and innovation, and unique British heritage, Antler has the potential to further expand.   We wish the business and management team every success under the future ownership of Endless"

Endless was advised by Addleshaw Goddard and EY.  LDC was advised by IJK Partners and by DLA.