Buyout of UK’s leading luggage brand
Antler is the UK’s leading luggage brand, established over 140 years ago, and also has offices in USA and China. It designs, sources and supplies a large range of luggage products that have become synonymous with reliability and quality. Its products are sold through its own network of UK stores and concessions, multiple retailers and hundreds of independent stores, as well as through global distribution agreements.
With the backing of LDC and Lloyds TSB, a highly capable management team and a sound capital structure, we now have a fantastic opportunity to invest in our brands, continue developing our market-leading luggage range and drive retail distribution in the UK and key international markets.
David Benjamin, CEO
Orbis led the transaction to acquire the trade and assets of the business from the administrator in a pre-pack process. We also introduced the new CEO to the business and James Grenfell joined the Board on investment.
The performance of the business had steadily deteriorated following a number of failed management strategies and the cost of servicing the excessive debt from the previous MBO. The company had breached covenants and further lost the support of its banking syndicate in the challenging retail environment. Orbis worked closely with LDC to secure a substantial investment and a significant cashflow and working facility commitment from Lloyds Bank.
The transaction involved all the complexities of a pre-packed administration process whilst also requiring the diligence of a traditional private equity investment in a limited timescale. Particularly challenging aspects included the placement of the pension scheme into the PPF, achieving a significant bank lend and support in unusual circumstances, proving a leadership solution for the management team and managing global supply and distributor relationships.