Piper defies retail gloom

Piper, a leading private equity firm specialising in consumer brands with strong growth potential, has exceeded the £80m target of its fifth fund and has capped external investors at £100m at its final close.

Due to unprecedented demand, Piper V, launched in November 2010, reached its first close of £90m in just two months. A total of £107m has been raised.

Investors include the global fund of funds business Adams Street Partners, family offices such as Wittington Investments (majority stake owner of Associated British Foods plc) and a range of high net worth individuals such as Charles Dunstone, founder of Carphone Warehouse.

The figure, nearly twice the size of the previous fund, Piper IV, reflects the confidence in Piper’s ability to identify, grow and deliver impressive returns on consumer brands in spite of the challenging economic climate.

Founded in 1986, Piper helped turn Boden, Pitcher & Piano and Maximuscle into iconic brands. Most recently, in May 2011, the company announced the sale of Bottlegreen, the soft drinks business, achieving a 5x multiple on its investment in four years.

The new fund will continue to focus on MBO, MBI and growth capital investments in the sectors of retail, leisure, consumer products and services, targeting businesses with a £5m-£50m turnover.

Chris Curry, Managing Partner of Piper, said: “We are delighted to have raised this fund so quickly in such a difficult economic environment. The large majority of existing investors have continued to support us and we have attracted some very high quality new investors. We now have the resources to help the next wave of emerging consumer brands to fulfil their potential. We achieve this by partnering high quality management teams and carefully nurturing these businesses through their “adolescence”.