Upmarket British cycling lifestyle brand Rapha has sold a majority stake in the business to US-based RZC Investments, the private equity firm run by Steuart and Tom Walton, heirs to the Walmart fortune.
The size of RZC’s investment in Rapha has not been disclosed but the private equity firm has confirmed that it is backing the cycling brand’s founder Simon Mottram and his leadership team to deliver the next phase of their strategy.
The acquisition will allow Rapha to roll out its Clubhouse network, Membership club and range of products and services, the brand said in a statement, as well as expand its reach globally and strengthen its leadership position in cycling. Simon Mottram will remain as chief executive and has retained a significant part of his stake in the business.
Mottram, founder and chief executive of Rapha, said: "This is an exciting day for Rapha. It heralds the start of the next stage of our journey and is testament to the growth and potential that people see in Rapha and in cycling. 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.
“Support from RZC Investments will allow us to further expand our active global community of cyclists, develop even better and more innovative products and services to enhance cyclists' lives and inspire many more people to take up the World's greatest sport.”
Rapha to use investment to roll out its Clubhouse network and expand globally
Rapha was established in 2004 by Mottram with the aim of offering premium cycling gear. It has been expanding rapidly overseas, now selling through 20 local websites, shipping to over 100 countries and operating 17 Clubhouses in major cities across the UK, North America and Asiapac regions, with seven new clubhouses set to open by the end of the year. The stores offer a mix of retail, cafes, live events and meeting places for cycling enthusiasts.
The business has grown by more than 25 percent every year, has been profitable since 2009 and now has more than 200,000 active customers and 450 employees.
Steuart Walton, co-founder of RZC Investments, added: "Rapha represents the very best in the world of cycling. Our investment demonstrates our enthusiasm for its quality products, amazing community of cyclists and customers and its strong future.
“Rapha's strategic vision has set the company on a path of tremendous growth and opportunity. We're excited to be part of this next chapter by bringing the best sport in the world to more people in more ways and places."
Image: Rapha Facebook