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Wiggle sells for £180m

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Cycling website Wiggle has been sold to a private equity firm for £180m. Under its new ownership it says it is now on track for further international expansion.

The Bridgepoint private equity house is the new owner of the business, which sees more than 1m shopper visits a week to its online stores and served more than 600,000 customers in the last year.

Wiggle’s management, chaired by former Asda chief executive Andy Bond, and led by chief executive Humphrey Cobbold, will stay with the business, which they will invest in as part of the deal.

Cobbold said: “Bridgepoint is highly experienced and successful in investing in growing retail and consumer businesses, and has an extensive international network which matches Wiggle’s international strategy and growth aspirations, and will be a significant benefit to continuing the strong growth.

“Wiggle could not have achieved this growth without the phenomenal commitment and enthusiasm of everyone of our colleagues, and we look forward to working alongside them as we develop the business the next exciting phase of channel and international expansion.”

Wiggle grew out of Butlers Cycles, which started trading in Portsmouth in 1920. It launched online as Wiggle in 1999. Today its website sells to 88 countries across the globe, is translated into nine languages and sells in 15 currencies. Its core cycling market was put at £1.4bn in 2010, while international markets are thought to be worth more than £25bn.

Bridgepoint partner Vince Gwilliam said: “Wiggle is benefitting from strong structural market drivers such as the shift to online retailing combined with the trend towards fitness and health living and the increasing popularity of cycling as a pastime. In addition, it has had a strong track record of profitable organic growth.”

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