Piper has successfully disposed of its majority stake in Gray & Osbourn Limited with the £8.25 million sale of the business to a subsidiary of N Brown Group plc. Piper originally backed the management buy-out of Gray & Osbourn out of Sears plc in 1998, where it had been the mail order division of Selfridges.
Under Piper’s ownership, Gray & Osbourn has been developed into a targeted catalogue and internet retailer of women’s clothing for the upmarket “golden agers”. Over the period of Piper’s ownership sales have increased from £6 million to £19 million, making it the leading brand in its sector.
Christopher Curry of Piper Private Equity commented that “Gray & Osbourn forms a critical building block for N Brown’s strategy to increase its exposure to the up market end of the 50+ market.
In making this strategic purchase they have recognised the quality of the management team, the market leading position of the Gray & Osbourn brand and the inherent growth of this part of the direct retail market”.
Jan Ekins, Managing Director of Gray & Osbourn commented “Piper Private Equity, as majority owners of the business, have been a vitally important partner for the management team, helping us transform this business from an unloved division of a major plc into a thriving brand leader”.
Christopher Curry led the divestment for Piper Private Equity which has generated a return of 9x its original investment.