Advent International has acquired UK sofa retailer DFS for an undisclosed amount. This comes less than a month after the company’s founder said DFS was not for sale, despite persistent press reports of a £500 million auction.
Advent International, the global private equity firm, today announced that it has agreed to acquire DFS, the UK’s market leading sofa retailer. The value of the transaction was undisclosed.
Over 40 years DFS has grown to become the number one brand in the UK sofa market with sales of more than three times its nearest competitor. The business, based in Doncaster, currently operates from 74 sofa stores across the UK and employs more than 2,600 people.
Richard Baker, former CEO of Alliance Boots, who joined Advent International as an Operating Partner in August 2009 will assume the role of Chairman, taking over from the Founder and current Chairman, Lord Graham Kirkham.
Commenting on his role, Richard Baker said, “I am very much looking forward to building on Graham’s achievements as I take on my new role as Chairman of DFS under Advent’s ownership. This is an exciting time for everyone associated with the business as it embarks on its next phase of growth. I look forward to working with Chief Operating Officer Jon Massey, Finance Director Bill Barnes and the rest of the management team to continue to develop DFS’ market leading position.”
Andy Dawson, Director at Advent International, said:
“Since founding the business over forty years ago, Lord Kirkham has grown DFS into a best-in-class business. Advent’s global retail experience allowed us to recognise that although the business operates in a sector which has been difficult for some retailers, DFS is unique. The company’s relative size and reputation as market leader has allowed it to perform well during the downturn. We intend to build on these strong foundations and evolve the existing business model in order to access more customers, through new store rollout, online and brand development.”
Lord Kirkham, founder of DFS, said:
“Advent’s investment in DFS is undoubtedly the start of an exciting new phase in the company’s development. DFS’ people, who have worked with me to grow the business to where it is today, are its most valuable asset. It is clear to me that Advent recognises this and their plans to expand DFS will continue to offer great career opportunities for everyone. Their proven expertise combined with the unique DFS culture will add real value going forward.”
“Richard Baker’s track record, style and approach fill me with absolute confidence that DFS will grow and strengthen under his leadership. I will continue to hold a financial interest in DFS and will wholeheartedly support Richard in his new role as Chairman and look forward to ensuring a smooth transition of ownership.”
Advent has been investing in the retail, consumer products and leisure sectors since 1984. Over the last 10 years Advent has completed over 25 investments in these sectors across Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asia. Recent retail investments include Poundland and Fat Face (UK), Charlotte Russe and Lululemon (North America), Gerard Darel and Stokomani (France) and Takko (Germany).
Advent was advised by Quayle Munro (M&A), Hawkpoint (Debt Advisory), Weil Gotshal and Manges (Legal), Bain (Market Diligence) and Deloitte (Financial Diligence).
About Advent International
Founded in 1984, Advent International is one of the world’s leading global buyout firms, with offices in 16 countries on four continents. A driving force in international private equity for 25 years, Advent has built an unparalleled global platform of over 140 investment professionals across Western and Central Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia. The firm focuses on international buyouts, strategic repositioning opportunities and growth buyouts in five core sectors, working actively with management teams to drive revenue growth and earnings improvements in portfolio companies. Since inception, Advent has raised $26 billion (€19 billion) in private equity capital and, through its buyout programmes, has completed over 250 transactions valued at approximately $50 billion (€37 billion) in 35 countries.
For more information, visit www.adventinternational.com.
About Richard Baker
Richard Baker previously held the role of Group Chief Executive at Alliance Boots plc having been Chief Executive Officer of Boots Plc for three years before leading its successful merger with Alliance Unichem in 2006. At Boots, he was responsible for improving the company’s performance and growing its market value considerably. Prior to that, Richard spent nine years at Asda Stores Ltd in a variety of positions, becoming Chief Operating Officer in 2002. He began his career at Mars Confectionery Ltd where he worked for nine years. In 2007, Richard was appointed Chairman of Virgin Active, the health club chain. He is also Non-Executive Chairman of the European Advisory Board for Groupe Aeroplan, owner of the Nectar loyalty scheme, and a Non-Executive Director of Whitbread plc.