Plumbworld bought back from Grafton Group

Online Home Retail Limited, an online bathroom products retailer trading as Plumbworld has successfully completed a management buyout (MBO).

A team led by the original founder of the business, James Hickman, has bought back the company from Grafton Group plc, a listed builders merchant.

Since its founding in 1999, Plumbworld said it has served more than 1.5 million customers and generated more than £26 million in annual revenue according to its latest published financial statements.

James Hickman, managing director, said it was “the right time” for the MBO, which was backed by a UK private equity firm called Panoramic Growth equity.

Hickman said being independent will allow the business to take advantage of new opportunities in the online bathroom marketplace.

“The e-commerce consumer market is very fast moving and intensely competitive. It requires quick decision making, calculated risk taking and a ruthless focus on eliminating avoidable costs,” he said.

“We believe being independent will offer us greater agility and enable us to focus 100% of our efforts on delivering growth and improving profitability.”

Jeremy Cole and David Middleton of Cole Associates Corporate Finance acted as lead advisers to the MBO team on the acquisition and fundraising.

Panoramic’s investment was led by partner David Wilson and supported by investment director David Atkinson.

Panoramic received legal advice from Keith Dinsmore and his team at lawyers Vialex. James Cowper, Chartered Accountants provided Financial Due Diligence. The management team received legal advice from Richard Norton of Charles Russell Speechlys.

The Arbuthnot Latham team, led by Andrew Rutherford received legal advice from Jon Bew at Irwin Mitchell. Grafton Group was advised by Squire Patton Boggs.

Transaction details were not disclosed.

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