Bridgepoint does two deals in a week

Bridgepoint has bought UK retailer Fat Face from Advent International for £360 million, and the educational business of Wolters Kluwer for €728 million. The investments are the firm’s second and third of 2007.

European buyout firm Bridgepoint has completed two deals in a matter of days, buying UK retailer Fat Face from Advent International for £360 million (€532 million, $706 million), and the educational publishing arm business of Dutch group Wolters Kluwer for €774 million.


Fat Face clothing is a favourite of snowboarders

Fat Face is a retailer with 128 stores in the UK, Iceland and Dubai, plus an online and catalogue business. It is also looking to expand internationally, with stores planned for Hong Kong and Singapore. Advent bought the business for what was reported to be about £100 million in April 2005, and has since increased sales to an expected £111 million for the year ending 31 May 2007. Profits are likely to be about £30 million, meaning Advent has sold the business at a multiple of about 12 times earnings.


Fat Face will continue to be led by chief executive officer Louise Barnes and finance director Stuart Owens, both of whom have re-invested in the secondary buyout. Alan Giles, who was appointed in October 2006, will remain as non-executive chairman.


Bridgepoint has also bought Wolters Kluwer Education, the educational publishing business of Dutch group Wolters Kluwer. The total value of the deal is €774 million, which includes €46 million of working capital. The business is headquartered in Amsterdam and generated sales of €317 million in 2006.


Bridgepoint’s previous deals in the publishing sector include the 2006 acquisition of Groupe Moniteur, a French information provider for the construction and local authority sectors, and the 2004 acquisition of John Brown Publishing, a UK magazine publisher.


Bridgepoint invested more than €868 million in five deals in 2006, and completely realised 13 investments. It is currently investing Bridgepoint Europe III, which closed in May 2005 on €2.5 billion. The fund is more than 40 percent invested so far, excluding these two deals.