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Walmart heirs acquire British cycling brand Rapha

Lauretta Roberts
07 August 2017

Upmarket British cycling brand Rapha has been acquired by RZC Investments, a private equity firm run by Steuart and Tom Walton, heirs to the Walmart fortune.

RZC paid £200m for the brand which was established in 2004 by branding consultant Simon Mottram, who spotted a gap in the market for tasteful, premium cycling gear. The deal values Mottram's stake in the brand at £25m although it is understood he will retain a significant stake and will continue as chief executive of the business.

Mottram told The Guardian that "the arrival of RZC Investments as a shareholder means we can pursue our mission to elevate cycling as a global sport and recruit more participants by engaging them and enabling them to ride with us at all levels".

He said the injection of cash would go towards the brand achieving its goal of establishing 100 stores, or "Clubhouses", around the world. At present the brand has around 20 such Clubhouses across the UK, North America and Asiapac regions. The stores offer a mix of retail, cafes, live events and meeting places for cycling enthusiasts.

Steuart Walton, who along with Tom Walton, is the grandson of Walmart founder Sam, said: "Our investment demonstrates our enthusiasm for Rapha's quality products, amazing community of cyclists and customers and its strong future."

Rapha, which is named after a defunct French cycling team from the 1950s, employs 450 staff and recorded sales of £63m in the year to January 2017, an increase of 30% on the prior year. It also has a riding club with 9,000 members who each pay £135 per year with perks including free coffee in its Clubhouses.

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