FF&P homes in on OKA

Fleming Family & Partners, a UK asset manager, has bought a majority stake in UK home retail business OKA for an undisclosed amount.

The private equity business of Fleming Family & Partners, a London-based asset management firm, has bought OKA, a UK home product retailer, for an undisclosed amount.

OKA sells products for the home, including lighting, textiles, glassware and paint. It has more than 60,000 retail customers and 1,900 trade customers, and operates nine shops, a mail order catalogue and an online shopping website. The business generated sales of £10.5 million in 2006.

Johan Van Zyl, deal manager at Fleming, said: “We were attracted to the business because of its very healthy growth margins, its multi-distribution strategy, and its interesting product range.”

Graham Frost, who has previously worked at UK retailers Argos and Monsoon, will become chairman of the business.

Fleming Family & Partners manages more than £300 million of private equity assets and has been investing in the asset class since 2004. Other recent private equity investments include the management buyout of RFIB Group, a UK insurance broker, which the firm backed in April.

The firm dates back to 1873 when Robert Fleming & Co was founded. Fleming Family & Partners was established in 2000 after the sale of Robert Fleming & Co to Chase Manhattan Bank.

The home retail sector has been a popular one with private equity firms. In 2003, Advent International bought Danish furniture retailer ILVA while in 2005, Industri Kapital bought Swedish interior design business The SIA Group from 3i.