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Keen mountain bikers Steuart and Tom Watson win race for North London-based cycle clothing brand

An investment firm owned by two heirs to the Walmart fortune have bought a majority stake in upmarket cycle clothing firm Rapha in a deal that reportedly values the business at £200 million.

Steuart and Tom Walton’s firm, RZC Investments acquisition of a controlling stake in the North London-based company comes after several months of rumours that previous main investors, Active Partners, were looking to exit the business.

The brothers, both keen mountain bikers who have helped fund trails in Arkansas via the Walmart Family Foundation, are the grandsons of Sam Walton, who founded Walmart in the midwestern state in 1962.

Now the world’s biggest retailer with sales of $485 billion in 2016, it operates around 12,000 stores worldwide, including Asda in the UK, which it bought in 1999.

Rapha founder Simon Mottram will remain as chief executive and also retains what the company described in a press release as “a significant part of his stake in the business.”

He 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.”

Founded in 2004, Rapha now has 20 local websites worldwide selling clothing and accessories, 17 Clubhouses in cities around the globe, a growing cycling travel business and annual turnover of £63 million in its latest financial year.

With its new backers it plans further international expansion, including opening more Clubhouses and introducing more products and services, as well as growing its Rapha Cycling Club membership base.

Steuart Walton, who spent several years working as a lawyer in London for Allen & Overy, commented: “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,” he added.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

13 comments

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Yorkshire wallet [1428 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

Lol at Walmart bringing in £485m. Try multiplying that a bit.

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handlebarcam [1043 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

Well, that's one way to shake off the stigma of inheriting money made by selling root beer at 50 cents per gallon: by buying a firm that sells lycra at 100 quid per square meter.

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steveal50 [15 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Lol at Walmart bringing in £485m. Try multiplying that a bit.

 

Yes. 1000 should do it.

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drosco [368 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

I was desperately hoping it was Primark.  2

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fluffed [40 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

Excellent, Rapha in Asda now, 2 for 3 for £20?  1

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check12 [134 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Wmahaha million dollars? Hey road cc this is 2017, billion dollars! 

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part_robot [259 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

Should've been Lidl.

But seriously, congrats to Simon again. He's built an amazing brand/company whilst at the same time managing a difficult family situation which would have burnt out most of us.

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SNS1938 [119 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

200m ... wow! That is serious money for a company that surely has a ceiling for sales (as the market is not limitless, and as more people buy in, some exisitng customers will move on to the next thing).

Best of luck to them making money on their investment, I'm good with my five pieces of Rapha kit I've bought over the past ten years, and am not in any way likely to ever buy more.

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Danger Dicko [282 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Lol at Walmart bringing in £485m. Try multiplying that a bit.

That's what they tell the tax man.

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ChetManley [44 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes

*checks eBay for used Rapha gear being sold by fanboys who don't think it's cool anymore*

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Crampy [29 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

Ah, another aquisition for the 1%er Reptilian pod people... 

At least I can hate Rapha now and actually have a reason.

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Dr. Ko [206 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

This explains two things of the past:

- Intro of the Core range

- Sky moving on to Castelli, avoid the embarassment of Quickstep having your kit sold at a discounter.

But still three for a twenty? Nah, in that case I stay with my btwin for a fiver each and have them printed.

 

 

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J90 [408 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Awaits downfall.