Theo Paphitis snaps up struggling Robert Dyas

Dragons' Den investor Theo Paphitis has acquired hardware chain Robert Dyas for an undisclosed amount.

Dragons’ Den investor Theo Paphitis has acquired hardware chain Robert Dyas for an undisclosed amount.

Theo Paphitis, whose previous investments include ailing businesses such as the stationers Ryman and lingerie chain La Senza, has bought Robert Dyas.

The kitchenware, DIY, gardening and home office products retailer was subject to an equity restructuring in 2009 after falling into difficulty while under the ownership of Luc Vandevelde’s private equity firm Change Capital.

Change Capital originally purchased Robert Dyas in 2004 for £61 million, but saw debts escalate to £70 million at which point Lloyds and Allied Irish Bank stepped in.

However, Robert Dyas, which was founded in 1872, has reported like-for-like sales growth of 3.8 per cent for 31 March 2012 over the previous financial year.

Paphitis, who will now become chairman of the business, says, ‘It is a business which fits well with my investment criteria and I’m looking forward to working with the management team who have done an excellent job in getting Robert Dyas to where it is today.’

Speaking to GrowthBusiness back in November, Paphitis said that he got into the retail space, and left the City, after spotting an advert for a shop assistant with Watches of Switzerland when he was 18.

He has now gone on to buy struggling retail chains such Contessa Lingerie, Partners the Stationers and Stationary Box.

On the back of the new Robert Dyas deal, chief executive Graham Coles will stay in his position with other members of the board. Chairman Geoff Brady and non-executive director Ian Gray are set to leave

Brady adds, ‘I am delighted that the business has attracted an entrepreneur of Theo’s stature: his track record for growing retail businesses is second to none.

‘The sales process attracted a great deal of interest from potential buyers, both from the UK and overseas, but I believe this transaction provides significant benefits both to the Robert Dyas team and to our customers.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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