Aston Martin shareholder said to have bid for Rapha

It seems to be the season for speculating about who is (or isn’t) bidding for which company and the latest rumour to emerge is that Italian private equity firm Investindustrial is a leader on the shortlist to buy UK-based cycle, equipment and clothing specialist Rapha.


Rapha

But some analysts think this is more than just a  rumour with a sale possibly being announced within the next fortnight.

Investindustrial, whose luxury investments also include Aston Martin, is reported to be a strong contender in the race to acquire Rapha.

Sky news reported that it has offered £200 million for the company, although another investment group, former Weight Watchers owner Invus is still believed to be in the running.

Cycling is the next frontier for luxury brands. And with L Catterton, which is linked to the Arnault Group and to LVMH, having taken control of Pinarello and previously having been rumoured to be interested in Rapha too, there are likely to be plenty of interesting developments in the next few years.

The two bidders seem to have little competition in the battle to take over Rapha. Other bidders, including Advent International and TPG, have exited the auction due to a potential purchase price that is over 20 times the company’s earnings, a high multiple.

But perhaps that multiple can be justified. Cycling is a growing pastime and Rapha is one of themes dynamic names within the category, having worked itself fully into many of its customers’ lifestyles. Its revenues in the year to January rose 30% year-on-year to £63 million and there are reports that they’ve risen 40% so far this year, even at a time when consumers are reining in their discretionary spend.

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