Change Capital shuts the window on Hillarys

Hillarys Blinds, the UK provider of made-to-measure window blinds, has been sold by consumer sector specialists Change Capital Partners to European Capital for €337m.

As European Capital’s seventh One Stop Buyout – the investment product whereby the firm provides equity, mezzanine and senior debt – and the London team’s fourth, it fought off competition for the business from ABN Amro Capital in the auction process for a 52% stake in the Nottingham-based business.

It is the third time Hillarys has been under private equity ownership. Close Brothers Private Equity (CBPE) backed the company’s first MBO back in May 2001, paying £50m for the privilege. It was sold to in August 2004 for £115m, making CBPE a 4x return. Change Capital is reported to have made over triple its original investment.

“We are proud of what we have been able to achieve with Hillarys,” said Steven Petrow, Change Capital Partners managing director. “We have successfully sold a fantastic company with a great management team and excellent growth prospects. We identified early on several opportunities to improve the Hillarys business and to further strengthen the company’s position as market leader and are pleased to have been able to support management in delivering the improvements.”

It is the first activity of any type by the firm, which hasn’t made an investment since co-investing alongside private equity house Synergo in Unopiù, an outdoor furniture business in December 2006. However, the firm is planning to reveal a new investment very soon.