CBPE Capital picks up sofa.com

Former Aurum Holdings CEO Justin Stead will join the retailer’s board as chairman

CBPE Capital has acquired a majority stake in sofa.com, the cross-platform retailer of sofas, armchairs and beds.

The mid-market firm is reported to have paid between £40 million (€53.8 million; $61 million) and £50 million (€67 million; $76 million) for the business.

CBPE could not be reached for comment at press time.

Sofa.com was founded in 2005 by Rohan Blacker and Pat Reeves, who died from cancer last year at the age of 46. The pair had previously set up a hot food delivery service called Deliverance, which was acquired by Active Private Equity in 2004.

Over the last twelve months sofa.com has opened a manufacturing facility in Poland and a new showroom in Bath, its first UK location outside of London, as well as “significantly” strengthening the operational management team, according to CBPE.

The firm is backing sofa.com CEO Gareth Williams and the existing management team, and further new showrooms are planned during the course of 2015 and over the next five years.

Justin Stead, who spent six years as CEO of Aurum Holdings, the owner of Watches of Switzerland and the jewellers Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb, will also be joining the board as chairman. Stead has invested alongside CBPE in sofa.com, according to CBPE.

CBPE is currently investing CBPE Fund VIII, its first fund since spinning out from UK investment bank Close Brothers in December 2009, which closed in 2010 on £405 million (€543.8 million; $616.8 million). The fund typically invests in companies with an enterprise value of up to £150 million seeking growth or development capital.

Investments from the fund include a majority stake in restaurant group Côte, acquired for around £100 million in September 2013, and an investment in Medica Reporting, a UK-based provider of high-quality tele-radiology reporting services.

In September 2014 CBPE had its first exit from Fund VIII, selling The Original Bowling Company to London-listed Electra Private Equity for £91 million, generating a return of 2.4x.