PPM Ventures sells Oasis for £152m

PPM Ventures, the private equity arm of UK insurer Prudential, has sold its Oasis high street fashion chain to Icelandic retailer Baugur for £152m.

Baugur, the Icelandic retailer that acquired toy chain Hamleys earlier in the year for £59m, has bought Oasis for £152m from private equity firm PPM Ventures.

The deal also included smaller fashion chain Coast, which together with Oasis, was acquired by PPM Ventures in a £54m public-to-private buyout in 2001. Since then, Oasis has grown its stores from 130 to 189, while Coast is now in profit having previously been loss-making. PPM is believed to have more than tripled its original £30m investment. 

The existing management team will remain in place, and will re-invest half of the £32m they received from the deal for their 12.75 per cent stake. “We are entering a new phase in the company’s growth with the possibility of overseas expansion and acquiring new brands,” CEO Derek Lovelock told The Guardian. “Baugur shares our vision and is the ideal partner.”

In the two years to January 31 2003, Oasis increases sales by almost 23 per cent to £164m and almost doubled operating profits from £8.6m to £15.6m.

PPM Ventures has made a number of investments in the retail sector. In September 2003 it sold its stake in greetings card retailer Birthdays to West Coast Capital in a deal worth £60m, and two years ago sold home furnishings retailer Fired Earth to Aga Foodservice for £29.5m.

A number of reports suggest that PPM is poised to acquire TJ Hughes, the discount retail chain, from JJB Sports for around £55m.