Paperchase sent greetings from potential buyers

Kasmira Jefford
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The stationery shop is currently owned by private equity firm Primary Capital
HIGH street stationery chain Paperchase has brought in advisers to help with a potential £150m sale of the business after receiving approaches from several suitors.

Paperchase is owned by private equity firm Primary Capital, which acquired the business four years ago in a management buyout from the now defunct US book chain Borders.

The retailer confirmed yesterday it has hired financial advisers from PwC and Financo to carry out a strategic review, which could include a sale of the 46 year-old business.

Paperchase chief executive Timothy Melgund said: “We have received a number of approaches for the business and decided to appoint financial advisers to consider these in the context of our aspirations to continue to grow and develop the brand.”

“Despite some of the challenges on the high street in recent years, Paperchase has stood out as a clearly differentiated brand, which has grown and expanded both domestically and overseas.

“We have invested in the store design and estate, in our product, as well as our online offering,” he said.

Paperchase, which sells everything to greetings cards to quirky lunch boxes and laptop cases, was founded by two art students ­– Judith Cash and Eddie Pond – in 1968.

The group has a colourful ownership history after being bought by stationery group WH Smith in 1985 and sold in 1996 to Melgund in a management buyout backed by Graphite Capital.

The private equity firm then sold it to Borders in 2004.

Paperchase has more than doubled in size under its most recent owners and now has around 130 stores in the UK including concessions in Selfridges and House of Fraser. It also runs around 30 outlets overseas in Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany and the Middle East.

The retailer is set to publish its full-year results this week showing that earnings before interest, tax, financial charges and one-off items jumped 27 per cent to £7.3m in 2013 compared with the previous year.

Group sales rose 14 per cent to £113.8m in 2013, with like-for-like UK sales up 4.4 per cent.