Piper Buys Minority Stake in Celtic Sheepskin

Private equity investor Piper has acquired a minority stake in UK-based Celtic Sheepskin, which sells sheepskin boots and natural clothing online and via direct mail. Financial terms of the deal were not released. The infusion of cash will be used for growth.

Piper, a leading private equity specialist in consumer brands, has announced it has invested a minority stake in Celtic Sheepskin, providing growth funding to this fast-growing direct (mail order and internet) sheepskin boots and natural clothing business.

Based in Newquay, Cornwall, Celtic Sheepskin was founded over 20 years ago by husband and wife team Nick and Kath Whitworth. In its early days its sheepskin boots were the original British Ugg boots, until the couple licensed the UK trademark to Ugg’s American owners and re-branded their company as Celtic Sheepskin. Over the years, the business has developed its expertise in designing, sourcing and manufacturing footwear, outerwear and clothing from natural fibres. Celtic Sheepskin now has sales exceeding £8m and has grown by an average of 20% every year for the last decade.

Libby Gibson, of Piper, commented: “Celtic Sheepskin is a unique brand. For the past 20 years, the company has been harnessing natural fibres to produce its iconic Celt Boots and individual clothing pieces based on craft values – items that quickly become customers’ favourite wardrobe items. We are looking forward to working with the team to enable more and more customers to find the hidden gem that is Celtic Sheepskin.”

Nick Whitworth, founder of Celtic Sheepskin, stated: “We are immensely proud of what we have built at Celtic but recognised that we need to work with a partner to support us through our next phase of growth. Ours is a family business with strong values and a passion for providing exceptional products for our customers. Piper clearly understands and respects what we do, and the team have demonstrated already during the due diligence phase their ability to add significant value to our business.”

Piper was introduced to Celtic Sheepskin by Mark Greaves, head of Corporate Finance at Francis Clark, who commented: “When we first met Nick and Kath, we were instantly impressed by their enthusiasm and passion for the brand they had built, and the ethos it reflected. Piper’s expertise in helping branded businesses grow made it an ideal and natural partner to help Nick and Kath continue the successful development of the business.”

Piper’s advisors on the deal were: Bond Pearce (Legal DD) and MaxAim (Financial DD). Celtic Sheepskin was advised by Francis Clark and Murrell Ashworth (Legals).

About Piper
Piper is a leading private equity firm specialising in consumer brands with strong growth potential. Founded in 1986, it has enviable record of transforming businesses into iconic brands – previous investments include Boden, Las Iguanas and Maximuscle. Piper also devised the concept of the “female friendly” bar by founding and developing the Pitcher & Piano chain. Piper focuses on MBO, MBI or growth capital investments in the sectors of retail, leisure, consumer products and services, requiring £3m-£15m of equity.