Monday 24th April 2017

Total Capital Partners funds secondary MBO of leading casual clothing brand Weird Fish from Piper

– Deal reflects growing appetite from institutions, family offices and HNW individuals for deal by deal model

secondary MBO of Weird Fish Ltd (“Weird Fish”), a fast-growing, lifestyle leisure brand, from Piper, a leading specialist investor in consumer brands. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In line with its differentiated approach to funding SMEs, Total Capital  will  provide a mix of equity and debt funding to Weird Fish and will hold a  70%  stake alongside management who are reinvesting in the business.

This investment follows Total Capital’s recent expansion of its partner team to strengthen its position in the North of England; its strong exit from home decoration supplier Arthouse in October 2015; and the successful realisation of its 2006 fund.

The Weird Fish brand is positioned in the rapidly growing lifestyle segment of the clothing market, which is forecast to grow at c. 7% p.a. to almost £4bn by 2020. Serving both men and women and focusing on the 35-55 age demographic, the brand is known for being comfortable, relaxed and fun reflected in its strapline ‘Wear the Weekend.’

Headquartered in Cheltenham, Weird Fish operates a multi-channel  sales  model comprising wholesale, retail and online operations. Its retail operation currently comprises 12 stores and 13 concessions based in popular UK holiday destinations. The business generated revenues of over £18m in 2016, representing a 25% increase in just two years.

With the support of Total Capital, Weird Fish intends to build on the recent success of its brand, with online being the fastest area of growth. It will also open new stores in selected UK holiday locations and further expand its product range.

Total Capital Partners Natalie Eastham and Paul Brown led the deal. Paul  Brown will join the board of Weird Fish and commented: “It is great to  be working with MD John Stockton and the Weird Fish management team who  have a proven track record of building successful retail business  in  the premium leisurewear space, the fastest growing segment of the UK clothing market. As rival brands have moved towards the high street and mainstream fashion, Weird Fish remains focussed on its active leisure roots and maintaining its presence in popular UK holiday destinations. The brand has a loyal and rapidly growing following and we are excited  about  the  future  growth prospects, particularly as we invest further in the digital channel. Weird Fish is in a strong position to take  advantage  of  the  current  trend  towards  active  and outdoor lifestyles. This makes it the right time for the business to expand, with fresh funding and the support of a new growth partner behind it.”

Natalie Eastham, Managing Partner of Total Capital Partners, added: “We are delighted to complete another deal-by-deal investment. Our funding model makes us a very disciplined, selective investor and it is fantastic to receive such a high level of interest in our alternative approach from our investor base. Not only do our investors like the deal-by-deal model that we have developed in recent years, but importantly they also recognise the significant benefits of our ‘one-stop-shop’ funding approach. Our main funding partner for this particular opportunity is BMO Global Asset Management, and we are delighted to be working with them again.”

John Stockton, Managing Director of Weird Fish, commented: “We are extremely grateful to Piper for their efforts and expertise in helping to develop Weird  Fish  into  a  formidable  multi-channel  operator.  With  Total  Capital’s support, we look forward to maintaining our rapid pace of growth across all parts of our business, enhancing our product range and sales channels to best meet the needs of our loyal customer base who value comfortable, relaxed and fun clothing.

“This secondary buyout marks the next stage in our development and it was therefore important to us that Total Capital could tailor their financing package to our specific needs, creating the right capital structure to support our future growth plans.”