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Rapha sells for £200m to Walmart heirs

Rapha Pro Team Shadow jersey pockets
Joe Robinson
7 Aug 2017

Luxury British cycling brand Rapha has been sold for a reported £200m to RZC Investments

The race for the purchase of Rapha has been won by RZC Investments – an investment branch of the Walmart family –  who are set to complete the purchase for £200m, this week. 

In a report by Sky News, it was expected that the deal will be announced on Tuesday with the purchase being led by grandsons of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart. 

Since this report, Cyclist can confirm that the US-based RZC Investments has become the majority shareholder of Rapha.

In a press release from Rapha, it has been confirmed that the brand that was founded by Simon Mottram has now been sold.

The founder and chief executive Simon Mottram commented on the excitement of the sale. 

'This is an exciting day for Rapha. 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.

'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.'

The Rapha brand, established in 2004, has seen a rise in its revenues and became subject of a takeover bid earlier this year. RZC Investments are reported to have fended off competition from Invus Group and Investindustrial, shareholders in Aston Martin. 

With the cycling industry now worth a reported $47bn-a-year globally, it is no surprise that Rapha is valued so highly. With stores worldwide, Rapha has experienced vast international growth especially in the American and Asian markets. 

Long time coming

Rapha has been rumoured to be seeking a buyer since late last year when rumours were rife that Louis Vuitton was positioned to buy the brand. The luxury fashion brand bought a majority stake in Pinarello at the end of the year.

In March, Rapha allegedly sought advisors to oversee the sale of the company. Around that time many speculated a high valuation despite its relatively modest profits – roughly £850k profit on £49m turnover.

Only last week, Rapha Racing Ltd released its annual accounts, showing a substantial increase in turnover to £67m and over £1m of profit – suggesting the company is in strong health ahead of the sale.

That comes alongside a substantial expansion in the size of the business, going from 50 employees in 2013 to over 350 currently. Rapha's expansion into travel, overseas territories and the success of Rapha Cycling Club have provided ample work for the company.

Simon Mottram will remain Chief Executive of Rapha, and will retain a stake in the business.

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