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Ideal Shopping Direct changes hands

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Ideal Shopping Direct is being bought by Blackstone private equity funds in a move that’s expected to lead to international expansion of the shopping channel.

The multichannel retailer, whose biggest brands include Create & Craft and Ideal World, sells via TV channels on Sky, Freeview, Virgin Media and Freesat as well as on a range of ecommerce websites. It employs 800 people from its Peterborough headquarters.

It has been sold by Inflexion to private equity funds managed by Blackstone, and will continue to be led by chief executive Mike Hancox, who has been in the role since 2008. Gerry Murphy, a senior managing director at Blackstone and former chief executive of both Kingfisher and Carlton Communications, will become chairman. No value has been put on the deal but reports suggest a price tag of around £200m.

Gerry Murphy, senior managing director at Blackstone, said: “ISD has succeeded by delivering a varied and exciting range of exclusive products and a great shopping experience to its loyal home shoppers through its websites and mobile platforms. We look forward to working with Mike and his team to capitalise on growth opportunities in omnichannel retailing in the UK and the US.”

ISD’s Mike Hancox said: “We see our future collaboration with Blackstone as a new development opportunity for ISD, from both a geographical and operational stand point. ISD will benefit from Blackstone’s international experience and expertise and from new investment as we enter this next phase of growth.”

The transaction is expected to close later this year, subject to regulatory approval. Corporate finance specialists at Clearwater International advised ISD on the sale, while Duff & Phelps advised Blackstone.

Michael Reeves, chief executive of Clearwater International, said: “ISD has a fantastic history of innovation and growth and the acquisition by Blackstone will allow this business to continue to develop. We look forward to watching its ongoing expansion both internationally and through new and emerging routes to market.”

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