Private equity house Endless, which specialises in moving businesses on after a challenging period, has bought struggling luggage retailer Antler from fellow firm LDC.
Since LDC invested in the business in 2010, Antler has been through some tricky periods. In its last filed accounts, for the year ending December 2014, the company made an operating loss of almost £2.8m.
However Endless has a strong track record in turning such businesses around, having made a strong return on investment when it bought the West Cornwall Pasty Company out of administration and later sold it on, and more recently buying Jones Bootmaker and jewellery brand Theo Fennell out of administration.
“We are delighted to have invested in this iconic British brand. With fresh investment and hands-on support from Endless, we believe Antler is capable of delivering strong sales and profit growth in the future,” said the firm's partner Tom Jack.
The business now has turnover of £35m, compared to £31.63m in 2014, and employs 280 people in London and across 32 UK retail locations.
LDC will retain a small minority stake in Antler, which also owns the Revelation luggage brand.
Simon Adcock, LDC's senior portfolio director, said: “This is a good outcome for all parties. Bringing an external investor on board provides management with an opportunity to deliver their ambitious growth plan, and to further invest in the Antler and Revelation brands both in the UK and overseas in what remains a growing market.”
Antler has recently pushed ahead with launching a new line, a lightweight range called Atom which makes use of super-strong material Armordon.
The investment is the fourth deal by Endless in a fortnight, after it acquired business travel company CTI, its portfolio company Essential Fleet Services acquired Go Plant, and its smaller Enact fund bought pet food retailer Kennelpak.