Private equity firm NorthEdge has supported the management buyout of Lights4fun, one of Europe’s leading e-commerce retailers of decorative lighting, to further expand the business’ existing market presence internationally.
The direct-to-consumer Harrogate-headquartered business has been operating since 2003 and sells more than 700 decorative lighting products online, which include indoor and outdoor fairy lights, festoon lights, and seasonal lighting. The business now employs more than 40 people and generates revenues in excess of £20m. With a highly efficient supply chain and logistics capability, Lights4fun sells its products online internationally across the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the US into a market worth some £3 billion annually.
The majority investment from NorthEdge backs Lights4fun’s high quality management team, led by Managing Director Kieran Eblett who joined the business in 2018.
The deal will see NorthEdge working with Kieran and the Lights4fun team to further expand the business’ growing product range, accelerate market share growth in the UK, enhance the company’s established international presence in Germany and the US and invest in its marketing and data analytics capability to create long-term, sustainable customer relationships.
Kieran Eblett said:
We’re ending our year on a real high. Our sales this year have been some of the strongest yet, up 35% year-on-year, and this investment puts us in a fantastic position as we enter 2021. The shift to online is continuing at pace. NorthEdge’s investment will help us to capitalise on our current success, enhance our strong technology platform, expand our leadership team and realise our vision of building the market leading decorative lighting business.
The team at NorthEdge quickly demonstrated to us that they understood our vision for the future, and we have complete confidence in their ability to help us achieve it at pace.
The investment was funded from NorthEdge’s £315m Fund II and was led out of the Leeds office by James Marshall alongside Andy Ball, Tom Rowley and Mani Minhas. James Marshall and Andy Ball will join the board.
Tom Rowley, Director and Head of Yorkshire & North East said:
This is NorthEdge’s fourth consecutive TMT investment, building on our growing portfolio of high-quality, resilient technology businesses and allowing us to utilise our sector experience to maximise value creation. Our completed investments reflect the exciting high growth opportunities that pervade across the UK regions.
James Marshall, Investment Director said:
Lights4fun have a proven track record of creating products that are loved by their customers and delivering market-leading customer service. This, coupled with the management team’s ability to build a strong and resilient technology business, has already enabled Lights4fun to play a market-leading role in the UK market and expand internationally. We are really looking forward to working with the team to build on this success and help them to accelerate their growth plan.
NorthEdge’s advisors included EY (Mark Clephan) who provided corporate finance advice, Addleshaw Goddard (Rich Hunt, Carly Gulliver, Ben Collins, Caera Loughran, Shannon Hardcastle (Corporate) and Andy Fordham and Jen Hanson (Banking)) who provided legal advice and Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services (Jonathan Steed) who provided financial due diligence. Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank provided debt facilities to support the deal and was advised by Squire Patton Boggs.
The Shareholders and Management team of Lights4Fun were advised by Andrew Barlow and John O’Gara of Sentio Partners (corporate finance), Nasim Sharf of Wilkin Chapman (legal) and James Fraser of Mazars (tax).