Long Tall Sally acquired from Amery Capital by Equistone-backed TriStyle Mode GmbH
Amery Capital Exits LTS Long Tall Sally to TriStyle, TriStyle Mode GmbH, Backed by Equistone Partners Europe, one of Europe’s Leading Mid-market Private Equity Investors
TriStyle, the German direct fashion retailer operating brands Peter Hahn] and Madeleine across Europe has acquired the Amery Capital backed tall women’s specialist, Long Tall Sally, in deal valued at ca. GBP 30 million. TriStyle was itself acquired by Equistone last year and the business has been actively looking for other synergistic opportunities that can benefit from TriStyle’s strong operating, sourcing and financial stability, strength and momentum.
Long Tall Sally will continue to be operated independently from its east London offices with the existing management team led by Andrew Shapin.
Andrew Shapin, CEO, Long Tall Sally commented: “The tall women of the world have a strong desire to purchase well made, up to date fashion and we are proud and passionate about working to provide them real choice. Our team, with the backing of Amery Capital, has transformed LTS from a GBP10 million UK retailer to an international, fast growing, profitable, digitally led GBP50 million (EUR 60 million, USD 68 million) sales p.a. omni-channel business, with 70% of sales online. We are very excited about the opportunity to continue to accelerate our growth around the world with the backing of one of Europe’s leading direct to consumer fashion businesses.”
Maurice Helfgott, Chairman of Amery Capital and Long Tall Sally said, “We are delighted that Michael and Maurice Bennett will deservedly enjoy yet another successful return on the inspiration, wisdom, and laughs they have invested in Long Tall Sally over the past 10 years. They join me in wholeheartedly thanking Andrew Shapin and our experienced teams and suppliers across the world for making Long Tall Sally such a success. I am very pleased to remain with the business as Chairman, and to reinvest with Andrew in TriStyle alongside such accomplished professional investors Equistone Partners Europe.”
Michael Bork Partner of Equistone and Head of the Advisory Board of TriStyle said, “I think Long Tall Sally and Andrew and Maurice and the team are wonderful and am excited and confident about their future together with TriStyle. We are grateful about the opportunity to work together in the future for the sake of our customers. As promised we will add interesting businesses to the TriStyle Group to grow the business organically and by external acquisitions. But it’s not all just about growth,the creativity, professionalism, understanding of customers, markets and product of both teams is outstanding and will result in a success story.”
Niels Degen, member of the TriStyle management team said: “At TriStyle we are delighted to welcome Long Tall Sally to our group. Together with Long Tall Sally and its fabulous management team we will continue to strengthen our position as a leading women’s omni-channel fashion retailer. We will work together closely for continuous growth of the TriStyle companies Long Tall Sally, Peter Hahn and Madeleine.”
Amery Capital and Long Tall Sally, its Shareholders and Management were advised by BDO (Tax DD), Blick Rothenberg (Audit and Tax DD), Berwin Leighton Paisner (Legal Advisor), Financo (Financial Advisor), KPMG (FDD and Tax Advice), Javelin (CDD) and Livingstone Partners (Management Advisor).
Michael Bork and Dr. Katja Muehlhauser led the transaction for Equistone Partners Europe. TriStyle and Equistone were advised by Shearman and Sterling (Finance EPE), Latham & Watkins (Banking), CMS (Legal Due Diligence, SPA), KPMG (Financial and Tax Due Diligence) and PWC (Commercial Due Diligence).
Long Tall Sally is an omnii-channel retailer of fashion for taller women. The Company was founded in 1975 by six-foot tall American entrepreneur, Judy Rich, who opened the first store on Chiltern Street in the west end of London in 1976. The Company’s mission is to be “the first choice in fashion for tall women worldwide”. LTS an online led omni-channel retailer generating c.70pc of it revenues from it ecommerce websites, supported by a catalogue distributed in its four main markets of US, UK, CA and DE as well as shipping to over 120 countries. The business also has 10 stores in the UK, 7 in Canada, 4 in the US and 5 in Germany. The Company achieved LTM to July 2016 sales of around GBP50 million and underlying profit of GBP 3.8 million (Euro 4.4 million, USD 5.0 million). All clothing is designed in-house, carefully proportioned to flatter taller women. The company has 388 employees globally, 212 working in the UK, 129 in North America and 47 in Germany.
Amery Capital Limited purchased long Tall Sally through a CVA in 2005 and has funded the organic growth and acquisitions, which have together transformed the business, including Tall Girls CA, Barefoot Tess USA, Long Fashion DE and Long Elegant Legs USA, all of which have been subsumed into a global single view of customers and inventory,
Amery Capital was founded by Maurice Helfgott with the backing of legendary retail entrepreneurs, Michael and Maurice Bennett on its key investment projects. Maurice leads Amery Capital as Executive Chairman, with a principal focus on advising and investing in digital, retail and consumer businesses in the private and public markets.
Amery Capital’s other current investment interests include Oliver Sweeney and Goat Fashion Earlier successful investments included Retail Profile Europe Limited which was successfully sold to SpaceandPeople PLC in 2013.
Equistone is an independent investment firm wholly-owned and managed by its executives. The company is one of Europe’s leading investors in mid-market buyouts with a strong, consistent track record spanning over 30 years, with more than 400 transactions completed in this period. Equistone has a strong focus on change of ownership deals and aims to invest between EUR25 million and EUR125 million of equity in businesses with enterprise values of between EUR50 million and EUR300 million. The company has a team of
37 investment professionals operating across France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, investing as a strategic partner alongside management teams. Equistone is currently investing its fifth buyout fund, which held a final closing at its EUR 2 billion hardcap in April 2015. Equistone is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
After successfully building up and selling Bennett Cameras to Dixons in the 1960s, Maurice and Michael Bennett founded Warehouse, the first really successful British own-brand, design-led, fashion retailer, which was subsequently sold to Freeman’s in 1986.
In 1991 they founded Oasis Stores , developing the business from GBP 1 million turnover to a hugely successful, publicly listed fashion retailer. Along the way they bought Coast – a brand developed from GBP2m turnover when it was bought, to almost GBP 100 million today. In 2002, Maurice and Michael Bennett successfully exited Oasis Group when PPM Ventures took the company private.
The Bennetts subsequently took control of Phase Eight, turning around and growing the company and selling it to Barclays Capital in 2005, producing a seven times return on investment for themselves and their partners.
Michael and Maurice were awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the Drapers Gala Dinner in 2006.
Maurice Helfgott is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Amery Capital, a principal investment and advisory firm with a focus on digital, retail and fashion related businesses. As well as being Chairman of Long Tall Sally, Maurice is Chairman of leading European online optical company, MyOptique Group, backed by six European VCs including Index Ventures and Highland Capital, and which announced a successful exit to Essilor International in August 2016. He is also Chairman of Amery investee company, Oliver Sweeney, the luxury menswear brand also backed by the Business Growth Fund; Chairman of Unforgettable.org, a start-up B Corporation helping people with dementia, backed by Bridges Ventures and Impact Ventures UK. In addition, Maurice serves on the Boards of END Clothing and Goat Fashion and is Senior Independent Director of Moss Bros Plc. He has worked as an independent industry advisor to a number of leading international Private Equity firms.
Andrew Shapin has been CEO of Long Tall Sally since 2007. He previously founded and ran the very successful Cotswold Company from 1997, where he remains Chairman. From 1991 to 1997 he was Group Marketing Director of Innovations PLC, a company that seeded much of the marketing talent in early UK digital entrepreneurship.
TriStyle Mode GmbH, headquartered in Munich, Germany, is a holding which unites the independently managed mail order and ecommerce companies Peter Hahn and Madeleine. The enterprise belongs to Equity Investor Equistone Partners Europe. With its two brands specialising in high-quality women’s fashion for the 45-plus target group, TriStyle is among the European mail-order market leaders in the Best Ager segment. Within this group, it has a stable and expansive portfolio that, on a strategic and financial level, is steered and monitored by the holding. The company also has sourcing offices in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Istanbul and Porto, incorporated under the name TriStyle Sourcing Ltd. In the 2014/2015 fiscal year, the mail-order company with 1354 employees recorded sales of EUR 505.4 million (consolidated). Of this amount, EUR 170.9 million are allocated on Madeleine (272 employees) and EUR 334.8 million on Peter Hahn (1004 employees).
Each of the two brands – Peter Hahn and Madeleine – is distinct from one another due to their clear brand and product profiles. They cover the entire spectrum of high-quality ladies’ fashion and accessories for the 45-plus target age group. The companies sell their products in 11 countries with their own foreign subsidiaries. Across Europe, customers can shop online or by catalogue, as well as in more than 20 department stores in Germany and Switzerland.