Livingstone advises on sale of Cotswold Co. stake to True Capital

International M&A firm Livingstone advised Blackbird Retail Holdings, owner of British online furniture retailer The Cotswold Company, on the sale of a majority stake to True Capital, which specializes in retail and consumer sector investments. Crate&Barrel founder Gordon Segal, whose family office Prairie Management Group is an investor in the True Capital fund, will play an active role in the company.


London (3rd October 2016) – Livingstone’s Consumer sector team has advised the shareholders of Blackbird Retail Holdings, owner of one of the UK’s largest online furniture retailers, The Cotswold Company, on the sale of a majority stake to True Capital, the retail and consumer sector specialist investment firm.

Founded in 1996, The Cotswold Company, which was acquired by Blackbird Retail Holdings in a purchase led by Kevin Johnson and James Birtwhistle in 2009, sells high quality oak, pine, painted furniture and accessories with a market-leading value proposition. The company generates annual revenues in excess of £35m, and has delivered strong compound annual sales and EBITDA growth over the last four years.

Following the transaction, 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.

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. We are delighted to have them on board and look forward to growing the business with them over the coming years.”

“The Livingstone team, with their strong e-commerce expertise and track record, really understood our business, its culture and what we were looking for from a partner. Their hands-on guidance and support was invaluable as we worked quickly to complete a deal that all of the team are delighted with.”

Matt Truman, co-founder and CEO, True Capital added: “I was delighted to work with Simon and Gavin at Livingstone on this transaction. Whilst on opposite sides, it was approached with the “spirit of partnership” from the outset that typifies True Capital deals and both sides more than delivered on what they promised. We look forward to the next stage of growth with The Cotswold Company and to working with Livingstone on many more opportunities in the coming months and years.”

Simon Cope-Thompson, Partner at Livingstone explained: “The Cotswold Company is an extremely high quality business, with an outstanding management team within the multi-channel space. True Capital will be an excellent partner for the existing management team as they continue to lead the company through its next stage of growth.”

Gavin Orde, Director at Livingstone, commented: “It was clear from the first meeting that there was an excellent fit with True Capital, as the Cotswold team will be able to tap into their sector specialist expertise, to help further accelerate the company’s online growth, expand its product and category ranges and increase its showroom presence across the UK.”

This is the fourth e-commerce deal completed by Livingstone this summer, having also advised on the acquisition of Long Tall Sally by Equistone-backed Tristyle Mode GmbH, the sale of Nordic fashion business Gudrun Sjödén to Ratos and the sale of Summit to TCC Global.

Notes to Editors:
About Livingstone Partners LLP
Livingstone is an international mid-market M&A and Debt Advisory firm, with offices in Beijing, Chicago, Düsseldorf, London, Los Angeles, Madrid and Stockholm. Its 100 staff completes c.60 deals per annum.