Lion offloads AS Adventure to PAI

The exit comes as the firm gears up to return to market

Paris-based PAI Partners has agreed to acquire AS Adventure Group from Lion Capital, according to a joint statement from the firms.

It is understood that the deal values the specialty outdoor equipment and clothing retailer at €400 million. The senior management team will reinvest alongside the private equity firm and continue to lead the group.

PAI declined to comment on the transaction beyond the statement.

Lion acquired AS Adventure in a transaction valued at €263 million in late 2007 with capital from its second fund, a 2007-vintage €2 billion vehicle. The firm’s return on its investment through the sale is unclear.

Lion could not be reached for comment at press time.

Launched in 1995, AS Adventure operates a network of 151 retail stores across Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France and the UK, offering trekking, climbing, skiing and camping accessories, as well as casual outdoor clothing across a range of outdoor brands.

AS Adventure’s CEO Frederic Hufkens said the company’s acquisition by PAI is “a tremendous opportunity for our group to accelerate growth both locally and in new countries”. PAI partner Fabrice Fouletier added that the plan was to continue building value through store openings, developing online operations and potentially add-on acquisitions.

PAI made the investment with capital from its sixth fund, which is currently in market and has already reached its €3 billion hard-cap. The vehicle, which is oversubscribed, is seeking to increase its hard-cap to €3.2 billion to satisfy investor demand, PEI reported previously.

Lion will be keen to return capital to its investors as it makes its final investments from its €1.53 billion Fund III. Market sources have indicated that the firm is gearing up to raise its fourth buyout fund this year.

PEI recently sat down with Lion founder Lyndon Lea. Click here to read the interview.