Flower power for Zeus

Zeus Private Equity has bought a majority stake in online floral and gift company Flowers Direct.

Zeus Private Equity has bought a majority stake in online floral and gift company Flowers Direct.

Zeus Private Equity has bought a majority stake in online floral and gift company Flowers Direct.

The deal was completed for an undisclosed but multi-million pound sum in what was the second investment from its maiden fund.

Zeus’ financial support will allow Flowers Direct to strengthen its operations and invest in its personnel. The firm intends to make further funds available to expand the company through organic and acquisitive growth.

Flowers Direct’s managing director, Ian Rawlins, said Zeus’ investment will allow management to broaden the company’s offering as well as expand several of its high street brands.

Zeus’ managing partner, Gary Tipper, added that the floral market has experienced enormous growth in recent years, due in part to the increased availability of online and call centre channels.

“Forecasts predict that the online sector in particular is set to show continued growth and Flowers Direct’s ability to provide a same-day service through its extensive relay network means that there are significant opportunities to increase revenues in this area,” he added.

Post completion, Zeus has appointed Anthony Preston, founder of retailer Pets at Home, as chairman.

Also joining Flowers Direct’s board are Zeus partners Gary Tipper and Ed Fazakerley, along with AIM-listed Synexus’ chief executive Michael Fort, who all become non-executive directors.

Zeus appointed consultancy MKonsult to analyse Flower Direct’s management, with Javelin Group providing a commercial and operational due diligence report.

MKonsult’s review, which was led by Mark Kennedy, involved psychological profiling, capability testing and one-to-one interviews.

Kennedy said this is a sound investment for Zeus. “The management team, as individuals, are well established in the sector, and know their business well. We are confident that, with the additional support provided by Zeus, the company has a great future.”

Javelin was led by its head of strategy, Richard Wolff, who was supported by online marketing, direct-to-customer fulfilment and e-commerce technology specialists.

“The team completed a full review of Flowers Direct’s existing operations and highlighted several opportunities for Zeus to grow the business further,” Wolff said.

Morecambe-based Flowers Direct, which has been trading since 2002, has the second largest floral retail network in the UK and Ireland producing a £12 million turnover. It has 1,200 member florist shops as well as a website and call centre.

The company also supplies wine, soft toys, hampers, perfumes and experience days to retailers, such as Debenhams and Alliance Boots.

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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