Dow Schofield Watts Corporate Finance, the prominent independent advisory firm, announces the successful completion of its advisory role to the management team of Character World, the UK’s leading licenced bedding specialist, on their secondary buyout backed by Palatine Private Equity from RJD Partners. Dow Schofield Watts Corporate Finance have been retained adviser to the management team since facilitating the original 2008 management buyout which was led by Mark and Danny Schweiger.
Founded in 1998, Character World works with some of the world’s leading character, gaming and music entertainment companies providing licenced bedding and associated homeware products for a wide range of children’s age groups from preschool up to students. The company owns the UK product licencing rights for a comprehensive range of brands including Disney, Star Wars, Peppa Pig, Lego, Nickelodeon, Hello Kitty, Thomas The Tank Engine and One Direction and has recently secured the licencing rights for a number of these globally renowned brands in mainland Europe.
The business has enjoyed substantial growth and is on track to reach sales of over £32million in the year to December 2014. It supplies several major retailers in the UK, including Argos, Asda, B&M and Smyths Toys. The newly secured international licences will allow the company to meet increased demand from many of the European based retailers.
The £16million investment from Palatine and funding from its bankers, RBS, will allow Character World to consolidate its UK market leading position and capitalise on the international growth opportunities it has created. Palatine partner, Andy Lees, and Palatine Investment Manager, James Winterbottom, will join the board of the company as non-executive directors.
Commenting on the transaction, Jon Schofield, who led the transaction at Dow Schofield Watts Corporate Finance, said: “This is a fantastic transaction for the management team which will enable them to lead the business through its next stage of growth with their new partner, Palatine Private Equity. Dow Schofield Watts have been continually impressed by the team’s energy and enthusiasm and are delighted to have worked with them to deliver a successful outcome for all parties involved.”
Andy Lees, partner at Palatine Private Equity, added: “This is an incredibly exciting time for the business after securing a number of quality licences with high-profile brands in Europe to build on the market leading position in the UK. The management team has done a fantastic job in growing the business over the past few years and it’s a pleasure to be working with them as they gear up for international growth.”