Carlyle to Buy British Premium Streetwear Retailer END

LONDON – Private equity firm The Carlyle Group has agreed to acquire a majority stake in premium streetwear retailer END with an undisclosed amount, the firm announced on Tuesday.

The stake is being acquired from END’s founders Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker. They will retain a significant minority stake and remain co-ceos of the company.

Index Ventures, which holds a minority stake in END since 2014 and which has also invested in Farfetch and Net-a-Porter, will fully exit. The transaction is expected to be closed on April 1, 2021.

The Carlyle Group said it will support END’s expansion, both within the domestic U.K. market as well as internationally, by leveraging its experience in the consumer sector.

Equity for the investment will be provided by Carlyle Europe Partners (CEP) V, a 6.4 billion euros fund investing in European opportunities, and an affiliate of Carlyle Asia Partners (CAP) V, a $6.6 billion fund focused on buyout and strategic investments across a range of sectors in the Asia Pacific region.

“We are attracted to END’s distinctive style, which mixes luxury and contemporary brands with the best in sneakers and sportswear,” commented Massimiliano Caraffa, managing director of consumer & retail for the Carlyle Europe Partners advisory team, regarding the investment. “We are excited by the many growth opportunities that lie ahead for the company, including the launch of womenswear as well as further international expansion.”

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Ashworth and Parker said The Carlyle Group’s experience and track record in luxury and streetwear, namely the $500 million deal with Supreme in 2017, will be “invaluable to us in supporting END’s long-term and sustainable growth strategy.”

Since 2005, the Newcastle-based END has expanded into a global multi-brand retailer with a strong e-commerce business, and opened a flagship store on London Soho’s Broadwick Street in 2018.

The company currently employs more than 650 people in the UK and ships to over 100 countries worldwide. It stocks over 500 brands from Gucci, Saint Laurent, Burberry, Givenchy, to Fear of God, Off-White, The North Face, Nike, and Adidas.

The company said it has developed a loyal customer base through its exclusive collaborations and its one-of-kind omnichannel offering, including its online platform, mobile apps, and physical stores.

In the year to 31 March 2020, END generated revenues of 1.7 billion pounds, of which 65 percent related to sales outside of the U.K.

It was reported last November that END turned to Goldman Sachs to help it find a new investor, and was seeking a 700 million pounds valuation.

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