Endless leads buyout at Antler luggage firm

The Manchester office of private equity firm Endless has backed a management buyout of British upmarket luggage company Antler.

Antler CEO David Sharman will continue to lead the company after the Endless buyout and Manchester-based Endless partner Tom Jack, who led the deal, will join Antler’s board.

Jack said: “We are delighted to have invested in this iconic British brand.

“With fresh investment and hands-on support from Endless, we believe Antler is capable of delivering strong sales and profit growth in the future and we’re excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Antler was established more than 100 years ago and has a turnover of £35 million.

With operations in the UK, China and the USA, Antler designs and supplies a range of luggage across two brands, Antler and Revelation.

Endless senior partner Darren Forshaw said: “This is the fourth investment for Endless in a fortnight, following the recent acquisitions of Go Plant, CTI and Kennelpack, and reflects the strength in depth the Endless team has as it continues to invest in the UK mid-market.”

The investment is the latest from Endless’ £525 million Fund IV and comes after a list of other acquisitions in 2017 including Jones Bootmaker, Theo Fennell, Arran Aromatics, Carpet & Flooring and Affinity Workforce, along with exits of Karro Food Group, Excelsior Technologies and Imtech.

Forshaw added: “This is increasingly looking like it will be a record year for us as this is our ninth investment already this calendar year.”

This deal between Antler and Endless marks the exit of private equity firm LDC, which invested in Antler in 2010 and will maintain a minority stake in the luggage company.

Senior portfolio director at LDC Simon Adcock added: “LDC has successfully divested its majority shareholding in Antler to Endless but will retain a small minority stake, continuing our support for the business.

“This is a good outcome for all parties.

“Bringing an external investor on board provides management with an opportunity to deliver their ambitious growth plan and to further invest in the Antler and Revelation brands both in the UK and overseas in what remains a growing market.

“With its reputation for quality and innovation, and unique British heritage, Antler has the potential to further expand.

“We wish the business and management team every success under the future ownership of Endless.”

Endless was advised by Addleshaw Goddard and EY. LDC was advised by IJK Partners and by DLA.