Lion Capital backs La Senza acquisition(3)

Lion Capital-backed lingerie retailer has bought another lingerie business from reality television investor Theo Paphitis.

La Senza, a Lion Capital-backed European lingerie company,has bought UK lingerie retailer, Contessa, for an undisclosed sum.

Dragon: former Contessa owner Theo Paphitis

La Senza is the UK and European owner of the La Senza brand and a specialty retailer of women’s lingerie.  It is the largest, independent lingerie retailer in the UK with more than 103 directly-owned stores and concessions. 

The deal brings Lion another step closer to fully investing its second fund, which was 80 percent deployed in October.

Theo Paphitis, an investor on the BBC’s business-themed reality television programme, Dragons’ Den, bought Contessa in 1996.  He sold La Senza to Lion Capital in July for £100 million (€148 million; $197 million).  Paphitis remains on the board and holds a minority shareholding.

Contessa has 69 stores in the UK and last year reported sales of £18 million. 

Lion Capital was advised by SJ Berwin and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In October Lion Capital sold Materne, French manufacturer of compote, jams and industrial preserves, to rival Activa Capital, doubling its original investment.

Lion Capital is a private equity investment firm focused on the consumer sector with headquarters in London.  The firm has invested €2.5 billion of equity in transactions totalling over €12 billion in value. 

Lion Capital is raising its first fund since winning independence from US firm Hicks Muse in early 2005.  The fund’s target is €1.5 billion but has a hard cap of €2 billion, more than Lion Capital’s first fund, which closed in June 2005.