Close Brothers backs blinds BIMBO

Hillarys Blinds Holdings has been bought by its management. Mike Snapes, chairman of Executive Golf Brands, joins as executive chairman.

Close Brothers Private Equity (CBPE) is the lead equity investor in the Buyin management buyout of Hillarys Blinds Holdings Ltd, the UK manufacturer of window blinds.

Nottingham-based Hillarys has been sold by Tony Hillary, who founded the business in 1971, and his partner Bill Ritzema.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed. Hillarys, which shifts around 20,000 made-to-measure window blinds a week, has annual sales of around £60m. The company employs around 1,000 people.

Mike Snapes, who is Chairman of European Golf Brands, another CBPE investment, will join the team as Executive Chairman.

He is supported by the senior team at Hillarys who, as a result of the MBO, will also become shareholders in the business which will be renamed Tony HillaryThe Hillarys Group.

Simon Wildig, partner of CBPE, will sit on the board of the company.

CBPE is the private equity arm of Close Brothers Group, the listed UK merchant bank. The division specialises in private equity transactions with a value of between £10m to £50m. During 2000 CBPE invested in deals worth approximately £250m.

The division is currently raising funds for CBPE Fund VI and aims to have funds under management of over £300m by the end of 2001.