Equity stake backs growth at gift firm
PRIVATE equity firm Primary Capital has taken a 50% stake in the East Anglia-based Tobar Group, in a deal valued at £42million. Tobar, which is based at Harleston, on the Suffolk-Norfolk border, owns the Hawkin's Bazaar retail and mail order businesses which sells hundreds of toys, gifts and gadgets, ranging from the traditional to the obscure.
By Duncan Brodie
PRIVATE equity firm Primary Capital has taken a 50% stake in the East Anglia-based Tobar Group, in a deal valued at £42million.
Tobar, which is based at Harleston, on the Suffolk-Norfolk border, owns the Hawkin's Bazaar retail and mail order businesses which sells hundreds of toys, gifts and gadgets, ranging from the traditional to the obscure.
Hawkin's Bazaar currently has 22 shops across the UK, with plans to open 15 more by the end of this year and a further 100 across the UK over the next five years, and its established mail order business is also complemented by a transactional website, www.hawkin.com.
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The investment by Primary Capital, which invests in middle-market management buy-outs, buy-ins and development capital opportunities in the UK and continental Europe, will back expansion of all of these sales channels over the coming years.
Toby Templer, managing director of Tobar and son of Sid Templer who founded in the business in 1973, said: “Primary's investment will help us transform Tobar from a wholesale and mail order led business into a multi-site, multi-channel retailer with a significant high street presence.
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“Primary are investing on the back of our enviable record of 33 years of profitable trading. As a company we are determined not to lose our character and sense of fun. We chose to work with Primary because they understand what makes us unique, and are keen to retain this as the business continues to develop”.
Graham Heddle, an investment director with Primary, who joins the Tobar board as non-executive director, added: “Tobar and Hawkin's Bazaar are exciting retail and wholesale businesses.
“The track record speaks for itself. Our investment will bring more fun to more people as the group has the potential to become a significant player on the high street.”
Tobar and its management were advised by John Gillgan, Keith Ferguson and Peter Harrup from the Ipswich office of PKF on corporate finance, tax and audit issues and by Fabrizio Carpanini and Sarah Bolton Olswang, London, on legal matters.
Peter Bate and Chris Birt of Lloyds TSB Corporate Acquisition Finance advised on acquisition finance, working capital and capital expenditure facilities totalling £21.5 million
Keith Ferguson, a partner at accountants and business advisers PKF, said: “We are delighted to have helped Tobar achieve this fantastic deal which will enable it to fulfil it potential over the next 5 years and provide exciting opportunities for its employees.”