Bridgepoint bulks up with Fat

Bridgepoint has spent more than €1bn in a week. It has acquired both UK active lifestyle brand Fat Face from international private equity firm Advent International and Wolters Kluwer Education, the education unit of the listed Dutch media group.

Advent International sold Fat Face to its third private equity owner in as many years in a £360m transaction, with debt provided by BNP Paribas. Following a management buyout in September 2004 backed by ISIS Equity Partners, Advent bought the business for approximately £100m in April 2005.

Established in 1968, Fat Face sells men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories from 128 retail stores, as well as through mail order catalogues and an internet store. Plans for Fat Face include store openings in the Middle East, Hong Kong and Singapore to complement the four sites currently operating outside of the UK, including Iceland and Dubai, which are franchise agreements. A further 15 new stores in the UK are also expected.

Advent partner Tim Franks said that the firm had considered both a refinancing and a sale, the latter attracting the attention of a number of private equity firms and some strategic players. Other retail investments for Advent include New Look, Vision Express and Poundland in the UK.