Bathstore sale under way

Published:  15 November, 2010

LEAMINGTON SPA: Wolseley has now appointed advisers to find a buyer for Britain's largest specialist bathroom retailer, Bathstore.

The Observer newspaper yesterday reported that Catalyst Corporate Finance is handling the sale. "Bathstore's founder Patrick Riley, trade buyers and private equity firms are all said to be watching developments closely," the newspaper said.

Wolseley announced in March that it intended to sell 19 non-core businesses, and has already offloaded tool-hire firm, Brandon Hire, to Rutland Partners. Bathstore, as a consumer business, is considered to be out of step with Wolseley's wholesale focus.

"Sources familiar with the sale said that they expected Bathstore to be bought by a mid-market private equity firm. While a price tag of £150m has been mentioned, it is expected to sell for between £70m and £90m," reported the Observer.

Mr Riley founded the business in 1990 with Nico de Beer, who remains a director. Their first shop, called Simply Bathrooms, was in Croydon. Wolseley bought the business in 2003 for an undisclosed sum, and built the chain from 33 stores to 170. Bathstore recorded turnover of £104m and pre-tax profits of £4.5m in the year to 31 July 2009.

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