3i acquires a minority stake in the UK’s GO Outdoors

3i has acquired a minority stake in UK based camper utilities specialist Go Outdoors. The owners of Sheffield-based GO Outdoors said they had entered into an agreement in which 3i will acquire existing and newly issued GO Outdoors shares, representing a significant minority stake in the total share capital of GO Outdoors.

Paul Caplan, President and John Graham, CEO of GO Outdoors both noted their delight over the capital injection and the partnership with 3i. GO Outdoors is a fast growing company with ambitious plans for the future, said a statement from the two.

Through Go Outdoors’ unique business model, the firm can now extend its presence in the UK market through new store openings and further growth within its existing stores, they said. 3i is an experienced and capable partner and will make a significant contribution towards Go Outdoors in achieving its goals for the business, said the two.

Justin Maltz, Director 3i, said 3i’s investment in GO Outdoors is another great example of the firm’s backing entrepreneurial, market-leading businesses with a clear vision for growth. 3i has built a great partnership with management, to help them fulfill the company’s potential as a supportive minority investor and is already working on a number of key projects together to deliver this.

The total value of this growth capital investment amounts to £28 million and will be used to realize further growth of GO Outdoors. The founders and management of GO Outdoors will continue to hold significant stakes in the company and fully support the transaction, alongside existing investor YFM Equity Partners.

3i is backing the management team which has delivered rapid growth for GO Outdoors in recent years, through a strategy of locating its stores in large out-of-town locations offering an authoritative range of product at highly competitive prices. It currently operates from 30 stores with plans to expand to 70 outlets over the next four years.

GO Outdoors’ differentiated business model offers the opportunity for substantial growth, both from further new store rollout and the maturing of the large number of recently opened stores, to take market share and create a ‘category killing’ retailer, said Go Outdoors.

GO Outdoors will continue to be supported by its long term banking partner Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets who have supported the firm’s successful expansion from just 7 stores in 2008.

3i is an international investor focused on Private Equity, Infrastructure and Debt Management, and invests in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

19th April 2011