DWF advises Ideal Shopping Direct on its acquisition by Blackstone

DWF LLP advised the management team of Ideal Shopping Direct, a leading independent multi-channel retailer, on its acquisition by Blackstone, from Inflexion.

Ideal Shopping operates live and pre-recorded channels across all major UK TV platforms: Sky, Freeview, Virgin Media and Freesat, as well as multiple internet sites. Its two principal divisions are Create & Craft and Ideal World. Ideal Shopping delivers a dynamic shopping experience selling specialty craft products to dedicated crafting hobbyists as well as home, leisure, health, beauty and fashion products. Create & Craft is the only dedicated channel to sell specialist craft products and operates 15 hours a day.

Ideal Shopping employs over 800 people and has its headquarters in Peterborough. It also has a growing operation in the US and through its TV networks, reaches over 26 million homes. The management team will continue to be led by Mike Hancox, Chief Executive since 2008. Gerry Murphy, a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone and former CEO of both Kingfisher and Carlton Communications (ITV), will become Chairman.

Subject to usual closing conditions and regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in late 2015.

Gerry Murphy, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone said: "ISD has succeeded by delivering a varied and exciting range of exclusive products and a great shopping experience to its loyal home shoppers through its websites and mobile platforms. We look forward to working with Mike and his team to capitalise on growth opportunities in omni-channel retailing in the UK and the US."

Mike Hancox, Chief Executive Officer, ISD added: “We see our future collaboration with Blackstone as a new development opportunity for ISD, from both a geographical and operational stand point. ISD will benefit from Blackstone’s international experience and expertise and from new investment as we enter this next phase of growth."

The core DWF team consisted of Jonathan Robinson, and Vicky Ross (Corporate).

Jonathan Robinson, Corporate Partner, who led the deal, said “We are delighted to have worked with Mike Hancox and his team again having advised them at the time of Inflexion’s investment. This represents a great deal for Ideal Shopping and an excellent opportunity for the business in the next stage of its development.”

Duff & Phelps acted as advisors to Blackstone.

Jonathan Robinson

Partner - Head of Private Equity

I am a Partner and head of the firm’s Private Equity team.