Sentio Partners advises on the NorthEdge backed MBO of online decorative lighting retailer Lights4Fun

Sentio Partners has advised the shareholders of Lights4Fun, one of Europe’s leading e-commerce retailers of decorative lighting, on the sale of the business. The management buyout sees a majority investment from NorthEdge Capital to back Lights4Fun’s high quality management team, led by Managing Director Kieran Eblett.  The deal provides an exit for the founder shareholders.

The direct-to-consumer Harrogate-headquartered business has been operating since 2003 and sells more than 700 decorative lighting products online, which include indoor and outdoor fairy lights, festoon lights, and seasonal lighting. The business now employs more than 40 people and generates revenues in excess of £20m. With a highly efficient supply chain and logistics capability, Lights4Fun sells its products online internationally across the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the US into a market worth some £3 billion annually.

The deal will see NorthEdge working with Kieran and the Lights4Fun team to further expand the business’ growing product range, accelerate market share growth in the UK, enhance the company’s established international presence in Germany and the US and invest in its marketing and data analytics capability to create long-term, sustainable customer relationships.

Kieran Eblett said: “We’re ending our year on a real high. Our sales this year have been some of the strongest yet, up 35% year-on-year, and this investment puts us in a fantastic position as we enter 2021. The shift to online is continuing at pace. NorthEdge’s investment will help us to capitalise on our current success, enhance our strong technology platform, expand our leadership team and realise our vision of building the market leading decorative lighting business. The team at NorthEdge quickly demonstrated to us that they understood our vision for the future, and we have complete confidence in their ability to help us achieve it at pace.”

Andrew Barlow, John O’Gara and Dave Irwin of Sentio Partners acted as the lead Corporate Finance advisers to the shareholders and management.

Andrew Barlow, Director at Sentio Partners said: “The investment by NorthEdge is fitting reward for the founding shareholders of Lights4Fun, who have built a first-class Business with significant scope for continued growth. Despite current market uncertainty, NorthEdge have demonstrated their confidence in the Business, and the cultural fit was clear from the first conversation”.

John O’Gara, Associate Director at Sentio Partners added: “It was a real pleasure to advise the shareholders and management team of Lights4Fun. Kieran and the team have a real passion for the business and bring an incredible amount of talent and energy to the table. We have no doubt they will deliver huge success going forward, with the full support of NorthEdge who recognised the quality of the business and the scale of the opportunity from day one”

The investment was funded from NorthEdge’s £315m Fund II and was led out of the Leeds office by James Marshall alongside Andy Ball, Tom Rowley and Mani Minhas. James Marshall and Andy Ball will join the board.

James Marshall, Investment Director said: “Lights4Fun have a proven track record of creating products that are loved by their customers and delivering market-leading customer service. This, coupled with the management team’s ability to build a strong and resilient technology business, has already enabled Lights4Fun to play a market-leading role in the UK market and expand internationally. We are really looking forward to working with the team to build on this success and help them to accelerate their growth plan.”

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