ECI Partners agrees sale with Active for Evans Cycles

ECI will hold significant majority stake in Evans, it is confirmed today
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Active Private Equity, the growth capital firm specialising in consumer brands, and ECI Partners, a UK growth-focused, mid-market private equity firm, have agreed terms for the sale of Evans Cycles.

On completion, ECI will hold a significant majority stake in Evans with the remainder held by management. Further details of the transaction are not disclosed.

Active acquired Evans Cycles in 2008 as a family-owned chain of bicycle shops based in the South East with annual revenues of circa £44m. The business has since been transformed into the UK’s leading multi-channel cycle retail brand which serves customers nationally through 56 shops and a well-developed e-commerce platform. Over the duration of Active’s ownership, sales have grown more than 300%, and Active will generate an 8x multiple on its original investment.

The Evans management team, headed by Nick Wilkinson, will continue to lead the business, in partnership with ECI. “The combination of an integrated, nationwide store footprint and strong ecommerce capabilities makes Evans uniquely positioned to be the cycling retailer of choice as multi-channel shopping habits evolve,” a press statement read.

ECI specialises in partnering with high-growth companies and has substantial experience of backing businesses in the online consumer space with other recent and current investments including Avantia, ATG Media, CarTrawler, Encore Tickets and Great Rail Journeys.

“Evans will stick to its winning formula with a strategy of excellent customer service, investment in people and technology, and by working in on-going partnership with the very best global cycling brands,” the statement added.

The acquisiton rumours have been rumbling on for some time, with PAI Partners - owner of Cotswold Outdoors - linked with Evans last month.

Nick Evans, Partner at Active Private Equity, said: “Evans has accelerated through the gears under Active's ownership during which period the business has been transformed. In the early years we established the necessary operational and technology platforms. We then hired experienced and ambitious management to lead the fabulous teams at Evans who have delivered sustainable and profitable growth in a fast-evolving marketplace. What is especially heartening is that Evans Cycles of today remains true to its independent bike store roots, run by cycling enthusiasts for cycling enthusiasts. We wish Nick, his team and our friends at Evans, the best for the business's next phase of growth."

George Moss, Partner at ECI added: “Evans Cycles is a leading multi-channel retailer focused on the attractive and growing cycling market. As consumers look to lead increasingly healthy lifestyles and their shopping habits become ever more sophisticated, we believe Evans is well placed for further growth. We very much look forward to working with the Evans team to help realise the company’s full potential."

Nick Wilkinson, CEO of Evans Cycles, added: “As a brand, we work hard to enhance our customer’s enjoyment of cycling – from expert advice and ongoing support to organising rides and events. Today’s announcement marks the start to an exciting new phase in our journey. It will enable us to deliver our brand promise in new ways and to more people. Active has been a very supportive partner, and pivotal in getting Evans Cycles to where it is today; we are very much looking forward to working with ECI Partners.”

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