Montagu sells Maplin to Rutland

The firm has agreed to sell the business for £85m to UK-based turnaround firm Rutland.

Montagu Private Equity has agreed to sell Maplin Electronics, a UK-based electronics retailer to turnaround firm Rutland Partners for £85 million, according to a statement.

Montagu bought the business from UK-based buyout firm Graphite Capital for £244 million in September 2004, which netted Graphite a 9.6x return. Montagu declined to comment on whether it will break even on the divestment.

However, under Montagu’s ownership, Maplin repaid all its debt and mezzanine facilities in full, according to the statement. Additionally, Maplin generates over £220 million in revenues, up from £100 million when Montagu acquired the business.

Montagu also helped to develop the business; it has grown its store estate, built its on-line capability and significantly expanding its product range, the firm said.

Maplin had nonetheless a “challenging few years”, according to a Rutland statement. As a result “a new management team was introduced in 2012 to fundamentally reposition the business in a rapidly changing environment,” the firm said.

“We recognise the great progress made by management so far in the recovery of the business but more importantly the potential still to be unlocked,” Nick Morrill, managing partner at Rutland, said in the statement.

For Rutland, the investment in Maplin marks the first deal done from its Fund III, which is currently in market attempting to raise £300 million. It held a £147 million first close before Christmas, PEI revealed in January.

Last October, Rutland bought Millbrook Proving Ground, a test and engineering technology business for the automotive, energy and defence markets, from General Motors. This was the eleventh and final deal from its Fund II, a £322 million vehicle that closed in 2006.

Montagu is currently investing its €2.5 billion Montagu Private Equity IV fund, a 2010-vintage. Earlier this year it bought Arkopharma, a pharmaceutical company based in France for €300 million. Other investments in the fund include BSN Medical, which Montagu sold for €1.8 billion to EQT Partners in 2012, and ClyniSis, which it acquired from ECI Partners last July.