Specialist European retail sector investor Alteri Investors has reached an agreement to acquire Blue Group Hold Co, the owner of Bensons for Beds, Harveys Furniture, and upholstery and bedding manufacturers Relyon, Steinhoff UK Beds and Formation Furniture, from Steinhoff International Holdings.
Harveys and Bensons, which have been owned by Steinhoff since 2005, trade from 269 stores. The group, which also has four manufacturing sites and five distribution centres in the UK, employs more than 2700 people and has an annual turnover of over £500m.
Bensons, which has a near 70-year heritage, is the largest bed retailer in the UK by store number, and the third largest by revenue. Harveys, founded in 1966, is the largest furniture specialist in the UK by store number. The associated group of manufacturing companies has many years' expertise in bedding and upholstery, and supplies the retail business in addition to a number of high street retailers.
The new owner plans to help drive continued improvement in the group's performance, building on progress already made through a series of initiatives launched in 2018. Alteri says it is fully supportive of the management team, and will work with them to develop the strategy to transform the group’s profitability.
The investment will be made from Alteri’s second investment vehicle, launched in August 2019, with the backing of funds and accounts managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management.
Alteri Investors founder and CEO Gavin George comments: “This is exactly the type of investment opportunity our second fund was launched to find – trusted retail brands with strong management and the potential for profitable growth. We are really excited to support Mark and the team on a successful turnaround of the business and are confident that our operational capabilities, alongside the injection of fresh capital, can help to build a market-leading, vertically integrated business with a strong omnichannel presence.”
CEO of Blue Group Mark Jackson says: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Alteri. Throughout the sale process, they have demonstrated an in-depth understanding of our business and their expertise, not least in digital, will help turbo-charge our plans to drive the performance of the group.”
Steinhoff Group CEO Louis du Preez adds: “The sale of Blue Group is the latest in a series of planned divestments by Steinhoff as we continue with our announced strategy of simplifying the group’s portfolio and deleveraging our balance sheet. We have enjoyed a long association with the Blue Group businesses, and we wish Alteri and the Blue Group management team every success with their future plans.”
The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval.