Enotria was originally founded in 1972 by Remo Nardone. In 2005 ISIS invested £8.2 million from its ISIS III fund for a majority stake in the business, allowing Nardone to retire and realise his stake.
Although the value of the deal has not been disclosed, ISIS says that the exit to BlueGem yields a multiple of 2.6x and represents an IRR of 34 per cent to ISIS institutional clients.
During the seven years of involvement with ISIS, Enotria was build under the tenure of new CEO Alison Levett. Between 2005 and 2011 turnover grew from £47 million to £106 million and the business made two ‘strategic’ acquisitions: Wheeler Cellars in July 2008; and Great Western Wine in August 2010.
Levett comments, ‘ISIS have been very supportive investors. Through a combination of challenge and encouragement they have enabled us to build organisational scale and capability, which in turn has enabled us to outperform the market and puts us in a very strong position to embark on the next stage of Enotria’s growth journey.’
The exit is ISIS’ second of 2012 following its sale of TVC Group to The Economist Group in March. The firm has also closed three new investment transactions including the backing of sportswear retailer inov-8 in May, a £3.7 million equity funding into day nursery operator Happy Days in April and the £46 million management buy-out of Autologic in January.
Mark Turner, partner at ISIS Equity Partners and former board member of Enotria, says, ‘Our investment in Enotria has been very successful. The management team has done a great job to build on the vision of the original founder and have consistently responded in the right way to navigate through the vagrancies of the economic cycle and retain such ambition.’
In May 2010 BlueGem Capital Partners acquired the Liberty department store in London for £32 million, taking it off of AIM and back to being a private company.