Global investment firm The Carlyle Group announced that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in luxury, streetwear and sportswear retailer END.
The stake is being acquired from founders Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker, who will retain a significant minority stake and remain Co-CEOs of the company. Index Ventures, who currently hold a minority stake, will fully exit. The transaction will close on 1st April 2021.
Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Newcastle, UK, END. is a global multi-brand, digital-led retailer, featuring luxury and contemporary fashion and the best in sneakers and streetwear. The company partners with more than 500 designers and brands, and has developed a highly engaged and loyal customer base through its exclusive collaborations and its unique omni-channel offering, including its online platform, mobile apps and physical stores.
END. is widely recognised for its focus on a high-quality consumer experience and its curated product selection. The company employs more than 650 people in the UK and ships to over 100 countries worldwide. In the year to 31st March 2020, END. generated revenues of US$234 million, of which 65% related to sales outside of the UK.
Leveraging its significant experience in the Consumer sector, The Carlyle Group will support END.’s expansion, both within the domestic UK market as well as internationally. Equity for the investment will be provided by Carlyle Europe Partners (CEP) V, a US$59 billion fund investing in European opportunities across a range of sectors and industries, and an affiliate of Carlyle Asia Partners (CAP) V, a US$6.6 billion fund focused on buyout and strategic investments across a range of sectors in the Asia Pacific region.
Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Carlyle as our new partner. Their experience and strong track record in Luxury and Streetwear will be invaluable to us in supporting END.’s long-term and sustainable growth strategy. Carlyle’s industry knowledge and truly global platform will be instrumental as END. continues to reach an increasingly international audience. We’d also like to thank Index Ventures for being a fantastic partner and great to work with over the last 7 years.”
Massimiliano Caraffa, Managing Director leading Consumer & Retail for the Carlyle Europe Partners advisory team, said: “We are attracted to END.’s distinctive style, which mixes luxury and contemporary brands with the best in sneakers and sportswear. We are excited by the many growth opportunities that lie ahead for the company, including the launch of womenswear as well as further international expansion.”
Patrick Siewert, Managing Director for the Carlyle Asia Partners advisory team, said: “Christiaan and John have built a unique offering in the market and we look forward to supporting END. through leveraging our strategic industry knowledge and global network, while staying true to the company’s core values that have supported its success to date.”
The investment in END. builds on Carlyle’s long-term global focus on Consumer, a sector in which the firm has invested over $20 billion to date. A core component of Carlyle’s strategy has been to grow brands through international expansion. Recent exits in the Consumer space include Golden Goose and Supreme.
The Carlyle Group was advised by Morgan Stanley and RBC (M&A) and Latham & Watkins (Legal). The sellers were advised by Goldman Sachs (M&A) and Womble Bond Dickinson (Legal).