Risk Capital Partners, a London-based private equity firm has further enhanced their consumer-focused portfolio with the acquisition of online gardening products retailer, Primrose.

Founded in 2003 and now Europe’s largest pure play online garden products retailer, Primrose offers a ‘one stop shop’ for all things horticultural, sourced from a diverse network of international suppliers, as well as local UK nurseries and growers. The products are sold direct to consumers, via its UK and European websites.

Sales at Primrose surged last year, as the coronavirus pandemic triggered a global gardening boom. Similarly, as an online-only retailer, Primrose was able to take advantage of the significant opportunities in online sales within the sector.

Primrose was most recently owned by Rockpool, a private equity firm which backed the landmark private equity management buy-out of Primrose in 2018, led by a specialist deal team from Smith Cooper Corporate Finance (SCCF) two years ago. Risk Capital Partners then acquired Primrose in November 2020, providing working capital investment to support a continued growth in trading and online sales.

Independently owned, Risk Capital Partners focus is “working with entrepreneurs with ambition and helping them to achieve transformational growth through acquisitions, roll-out programmes and bold organic growth strategies.” Primrose was identified as a key investment opportunity, following which a growth capital deal was agreed.

Primrose will continue to trade as normal, led by its existing management team – Mark Pearson (CEO) and Ross Chester (CFO).  Darren Hodson and Joshua Gurton from Smith Cooper Corporate Finance (SCCF) supported management on the transaction.

In light of the successful sale, Mark Person comments “This transaction marks an exciting opportunity to capitalise on Primrose’s existing position as the UK’s market leader in the online-only arena. In the last few months, we’ve enhanced our product range and also invested significantly in our internal and e-commerce systems, ensuring we have robust foundations for the next phase of growth.”

Darren Hodson, Partner at SCCF comments “We were delighted to support Mark and Ross throughout this transaction. Having supporting Mark in the acquisition of Primrose 2 years ago, we already understood the business and the aspirations of its management team and were therefore well placed to advise.”

“Primrose offers favourable long term market drivers for the British and European garden product markets, and there remains plenty of opportunity for continued and strategic growth and consolidation of the fragmented sector in which they operate.”

Advisor: Darren Hodson

Date: December 2020