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Montagu buys hair styling business from LDC

Lloyds Development Capital has made an exit from the company behind iconic hair-styling brand ghd after just 12 months, selling it to Montagu Private Equity for £160 million.

Montagu Private Equity has paid £160 million (€236 million; $326 million) to buy hair styling products maker Jemella Group, owner of one of the UK’s most fashionable consumer brands.

The business was previously owned by Lloyds Development Capital, who backed a £55 million management buyout of the business just 12 months ago. Montagu had looked at buying the business at the same time, but decided it was “just below our radar”, according to a spokesperson for the firm.

ghd’s iconic straighteners

Jemella is best known for its hair styling products, which are sold under the “ghd” brand via hair salons and include the market-leading hair straightening irons. The company is still based in the UK, although in recent years it has also been setting up operations in Australia, South Africa, North America and several European countries, as it looks to recreate its “viral success” overseas.

LDC has been able to complete the quick flip thanks to the company’s strong performance during its one-year ownership, which has seen it increase sales and profits as well as continue its growth overseas.

Simon Pooler, a Montagu director who will join the Jemella board, said ghd was “a remarkable success story” and “now a serious international business.” The buyout firm wants to continue the firm’s international expansion, and plans to invest as much as £20 million in capital to accelerate this process. It said there were no plans to change the current management team.

LDC was not immediately available for comment.