Maximuscle brings maximum returns for Piper Private Equity

Darwin Private Equity fought off several trade and private equity buyers to complete its first transaction, the acquisition of Maximuscle, a sports nutrition company, for £75 million.

The deal provided Piper Private Equity with a full exit and 7.5 times its original investment.

During the period of Piper’s investment in Maximuscle, sales have trebled and the sports food business has increased in value from less than £10 million to £75 million.

Maximuscle is a scientifically-supported high protein sports foods, which has seen rapid growth driven by increasing interest in healthy eating and exercise. The product is available at gyms and in high street outlets, including Argos, Asda, Boots, Tesco and Waitrose.

Zef Eisenberg, founder and president of Maximuscle, said: “We are delighted to have found a buyer for the business with as much passion for the Maximuscle brand as Piper. Darwin has expressed great commitment to the continued growth of Maximuscle and support for the management team. With their experience and support, I am confident we can continue to drive the business forward.”

Piper Private Equity appointed LEK Consulting to conduct a commercial vendor due diligence review, which was led by Dominic Miles and Geoff Parkin, partners in the firm’s European Retail and Consumer Goods practice.

LEK undertook a detailed analysis of target consumer groups; the frequency and nature of their exercise routines and their awareness and usage of sports nutrition products. This was supplemented with channel feedback and international benchmarks in order to assess the likely market trajectory.

Miles said the firm was approached to work on the deal due to its experience within the sector and thoroughness of approach. “In order to reveal the dynamics of this successful company we felt that it was important to build a bottom-up validation of the market – an approach that the management fully supported.”

Other advisers included Concise Consultants led by partner Josh Thomson. Concise has specialist consulting expertise in the leisure and sports sector and were subsequently well placed to advise Darwin on the current business and future growth opportunities the company and sector present.

Thomson said: “It was the first time we have worked with Darwin and were impressed by their practical yet focused approach to the process. We strongly believe this investment will be successful based on the solid core business and many avenues for future growth.”

The deal was financed by nabCapital alongside Royal Bank of Scotland and CapitalSource.

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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