GO Outdoors growth boost

Go Outdoors chief executive John Graham and Stephen Ingram from BHP Corporate Finance
Go Outdoors chief executive John Graham and Stephen Ingram from BHP Corporate Finance
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Leading UK outdoor clothing and equipment firm GO Outdoors is planning to more than double the number of stores it has throughout the UK after getting a £28 million boost from 3i.

The venture capital group is taking a minority stake in Sheffield-based GO Outdoors, which was named one of the three fastest growing private equity-backed companies in the UK earlier this year.

The founders, management and YFM Equity Partners will continue to hold significant stakes in the company, whose value is believed to exceed £100 million following the 3i investment.

GO Outdoors has grown rapidly in recent years by acquiring stores in large out-of-town locations and offering a wide range of products at highly competitive prices.

The group currently has 30 stores and plans to add another 40 over the next four years.

David Whileman and Justin Maltz of 3i join the board of the company, based just off Bramall Lane, and Colin Holmes takes over as chairman from John Lovering.

Mr Holmes joins the company after a long and successful career at Tesco, where he led fast expansion of the superstore and convenience stores business and the development of its supply chain for fresh produce.

GO Outdoors’ founding shareholders were advised by Stephen Ingram of Sheffield-based BHP Coprorate Finance, which also played an important part in the overal transaction.

Mr Ingram has acted for Go Outdoors since 1998 when he advised company president, Paul Caplan, and chief executive John Graham on a Buy-in Management Buyout of CCC, which became Go Outdoors in 2005.

Since then, he has advised the company on acquisitions, fundraising and its rapid growth strategy.

GO Outdoors’ advisers also included PwC Corporate Finance.