Peterborough TV shopping channel is sold to United States-based private equity firm

Ideal World's TV studios.
Ideal World's TV studios.

Peterborough-based TV shopping channel Ideal Shopping Direct has been sold to private equity funds manager Blackstone.

Ideal Shopping Direct, which has its studios and offices in Newark Road where it employs about 800 people, has been sold by private equity fund Inflexion after being put on the market in April this year.

It is understood the asking price for the multi-channel home shopping retailer was £200 million but the final amount paid has not been disclosed.

The new owner, Blackstone, has its head office in New York and the purchase follows Ideal’s successful entry into America’s lucrative crafts market and where it is seen by about 40 million households.

John Hartz, managing partner at Inflexion, said: “Ideal is a large, multi-channel retailer with an exceptional product range.

“We worked hand-in-hand with its ambitious management team to focus on key segments, such as Create & Craft, to maximise our share of the growing craft market.

“The company’s successful US market entry establishes it as a truly multinational retailer, well-placed to capitalise on a significant market opportunity. We wish the team every success.”

Mike Hancox, chief executive officer of Ideal Shopping Direct (ISD), said; “I would like to thank Inflexion for its support and commitment to our business over the last four years, during which time we have expanded our offering both in the UK and overseas.

“We are excited about the next stage of growth with Blackstone.

“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.”

A spokesman for Inflexion, which bought the company in 2011, said: “We successfully delisted the company from AIM in a take-private.

“We backed the incumbent management team who still lead this thriving company today.

“More latterly, Inflexion helped Ideal Shopping Direct establish its presence in the U.S., a multi-billion dollar crafting market currently dominated by bricks and mortar retailers, through a partnership with a local distributor and the launch of a dedicated US TV channel.

“Ideal Shopping Direct now accesses about 40 million U.S. households.”

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.”

The management team will continue to be led by Mr Hancox, who has been chief executive since 2008.

Mr Murphy, who is a former chief executive of both Kingfisher and Carlton Communications (ITV), will become chairman.

The completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

The sale process was led by Tim Smallbone and Inflexion was advised by DC Advisory led by Richard Madden, Richard Pulford, Ben Thompson and Ryan Hallworth.

Duff & Phelps acted as advisors to Blackstone.