ECI Partners cycles off with Evans Cycles

 
Jessica Morris
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ECI Partners has snapped up Evans Cycles (Source: Getty)

The 90-year-old bike shop Evans Cycles has been sold by former owners Active Private Equity to another private equity firm ECI Partners for an undisclosed sum.

ECI Partners said it will hold a "significant majority stake" in Crawley-based bike chain, which has 56 stores and employs around 1,200 people. This will leave its management with the remaining minority stake.

News of the deal follows earlier reports that a deal with ECI would value the Evans Cycles at about £100m. Graphite Capital was said to be one of several suitors vying for a controlling interest in bicycle store chain.

And even Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley was reportedly keen on acquiring the cycling specialist.

ECI says Evans Cycles, which began as a small family-owned London chain, is the UK's largest specialist cycling retailer.

Evans Cycles has benefited from a recent surge in the popularity of cycling following Britain’s successes in 2012 in the Tour De France and at the Olympics.

Sales in Evans Cycles have more than quadrupled since it was snapped up by previous owners Active Private Equity for £35m in 2008, when it had an annual revenue of about £44m.

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