Blackstone buys ISD from Inflexion

Blackstone Capital Partners VI is now about 85 percent invested.

Blackstone is acquiring UK home shopping channel Ideal Shopping Direct (ISD) from Inflexion Private Equity through its Blackstone Capital Partners VI fund.

Including the ISD transaction, BCP VI will have made about 50 investments representing 85 percent of its capital, it is understood.

BCP VI is a $16.3 billion buyout vehicle that closed in 2011. The firm is currently collecting funds for BCP VII and has raised $17.5 billion on a target of $16 billion, according to PEI's Research & Analytics division.

The size of the ISD transaction was not disclosed but reports put the deal at £200 million ($309 million; €277 million). Spokespeople for both Blackstone and Inflexion declined to comment.

ISD operates live and pre-recorded channels for a number of UK broadcasters including Sky, Freeview, Virgin Media and Freesat, selling craft products, as well as home, leisure, health, beauty and fashion goods, Blackstone said.

Mike Hancox has been chief executive of ISD since 2008 and will continue in his role. Blackstone senior managing director Gerry Murphy will become chairman, Blackstone said.

Inflexion acquired ISD for £78 million in June 2011, partnering with the management team to take the company private from AIM, Inflexion said. Within a year the firm had made two bolt-on acquisitions, online knitting retailer Deramores and Craft Channel Productions.

A spokesperson for Inflexion declined to identify which fund made the investment or the return.

The sale of IDS is the seventh realisation Inflexion has made this year. These include of human resources software company Reward Gateway in a transaction valued at £140 million that generated a 7.7 x return, and its remaining stake in trust and administration services company Sanne Group, which generated a fully realised return of 4.4 x, as reported by Private Equity International.

“It’s been a very good market for strong realisations,” Inflexion managing partner Simon Turner told PEI in July. “We’ve been lucky in having a swathe of businesses that have been at a state where they’re ready to go and attractive, and we’ve been taking advantage of that.”

The firm announced earlier in September that it had hired three new investment executives.

George Collier joined Inflexion from Deloitte’s M&A and debt advisory team, where he has worked with portfolio companies JLA Group and JTC Group, the firm said. John Cordrey was hired from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ corporate finance team where he worked on deals including Gondola group and Constructionline. Edward Lynch has joined from Catalyst Corporate Finance.

The three will rotate through the firm’s buyout and partnership businesses, it said.