KPMG announced it has advised leading Australian retailer, Universal Store on its sale to a group of private equity investors, alongside its existing management team, led by Alice Barbery.
The acquisition was led by Five V Capital (‘Five V’), Catalyst Direct Capital Management (‘CDCM’) and BBRC Worldwide (‘BBRC’) (together, ‘the Consortium’)
Peter Turner, KPMG’s National Head of M&A said; “In the midst of many challenging stories in the retail sector, Universal Store is a shining light. This outcome is a credit to a strong group of management and shareholders who have collectively developed a market leading business. They have been a pleasure to work with.”
Universal Store was founded in 1999 by brothers Greg and Michael Josephson, when the first store was established at Carindale, Brisbane. Today the business is a national retailer with 53 stores in six states, a growing online store and turnover in excess of $100 million.
Universal Store’s clearly defined strategy, proven leadership team, and the way it has focused on customers and embraced technology are key reasons the Consortium purchased the Company.
Alice Barbery, Universal Store’s CEO said she was delighted that KPMG had helped them find partners who have deep experience in the sector and a supportive approach for the continued growth of the business. “We think it’s a great outcome for our business, and positions us well for further growth”; she said.
Alice acknowledged the contribution of her team to the success of the business over recent years. “Our people are the biggest reason for our success, and they remain key to our future”; she said. “We’ve built an exceptional team and in turn we have strong relationships with our key brands and landlords”, Ms Barbery said.
“We have also enjoyed committed and consistent support from our founders and major shareholders over many years, and are deeply appreciative of the Josephson family” she added.
“Looking forward, our strategy remains simple but effective. We are focused on delighting our customers, and further expanding our store network and omni-channel offering to meet their needs. This strategy has delivered us outstanding results over recent years, so our focus is on evolving that strategy, rather than changing it.”
The transaction is expected to complete by the end of October.
Universal Store was advised by KPMG and Ashurst.
The Consortium were advised by Gilbert & Tobin and PwC.
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CDCM is a sister business of Catalyst Investment Managers (‘Catalyst’) and it is led by a partner of Catalyst, Trent Peterson. Catalyst is one of Australia’s longest standing middle market private equity firms. CDCM has interests in SkyBus, Mr Vitamins, and Shaver Shop. Trent has deep experience in specialty retail in Australia including having led investments in Just Group, Pacific Brands, EziBuy, Adairs, Max Fashions, Mr Vitamins, and Dusk.
Five V Capital is an Australian fund manager based in Sydney which invests in businesses with organic, consolidation or international growth opportunities. Five V supports these businesses to build sustainable leading positions in their markets. Five V is an investor in companies including, The Probe Group, Ascender, Unified Healthcare Group, RateSetter Australia, Education Perfect, Madman Entertainment and Canva.
BBRC Worldwide is the private investment vehicle of Brett Blundy. BBRC’s interests span various segments of specialty retail, property, funds management, agriculture, recruitment and technology. Today, BBRC has significant interests in Aventus (ASX: AVN), Lovisa (ASX: LOV), Adairs (ASX: ADH), BBRC Beef, Honey Birdette, Dusk, and Mr Vitamins.
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