One of the fastest growing companies in the Northeast has sold a controlling stake to a U.S. investment firm in a multi-million pound deal that is expected to lead to further growth.
Clothing retailer END is best known for the queues outside its Newcastle city center store that crop up when it sells limited edition designer sneakers from some of the world’s best-known designers. A majority stake was acquired by the Carlyle group.
END is one of the region’s most beloved companies, having featured in a number of national rankings for fast growing companies in recent years, mainly due to the success of its international online operation.
The company has a turnover of over £ 170million, two-thirds of which is overseas, and employs more than 650 people.
Co-CEOs Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker, who founded the company in 2005, will retain a significant minority stake and remain at the helm of the company. Venture capital group Index Ventures, which currently owns a minority stake in END, will leave the company when the deal is finalized on April 1.
In a statement, Mr Ashworth and Mr Parker said: “We are delighted to welcome Carlyle as a new partner. Their experience and solid background in luxury and streetwear will be invaluable to us in supporting the END’s long-term and sustainable growth strategy.
“Carlyle’s industry knowledge and its truly global platform will be critical to END. continues to reach an increasingly international audience. We would also like to thank Index Ventures for being such a fantastic partner that it has been pleasant to work with over the past 7 years.
END is known for its popular sneaker and streetwear collection, brought together through relationships with over 500 designers and brands. Its global customer base made it named the Northeast’s fastest growing large company in 2018.
No value was disclosed for the takeover, but it involved funds from Carlyle Europe Partners and a subsidiary of Carlyle Asia Partners.
Massimiliano Caraffa, Managing Director of Consumer and Retail for the Carlyle Europe Partners Advisory Team, said: “We are drawn to END’s distinctive style.
“We are excited about the many growth opportunities available to the company, including the launch of women’s clothing as well as continued international expansion. “
The Carlyle Group said its strategy was to grow its brands through international expansion. He was advised by Morgan Stanley, RBC and Latham & Watkins. END was advised by Goldman Sachs and Newcastle law firm Womble Bond Dickinson.