Kleeneze Provides Dual Barclays Exit –

Barclays Private Equity has sold two of its portfolio companies – Dealerfield and Colour Library – to Kleeneze PLC for a combined value of more than GBP40 million ($59.8 million).

Kleeneze intends to do what Barclays Private Equity didn’t have the time to do and merge the two businesses. Kleeneze paid GBP13.4 million in cash and assumed GBP24.2 million in debt. As part of the transaction Kleeneze has also agreed to pay an additional, and unspecified, amount in profit-related payments.

Barclays Private Equity came to invest in Dealerfield in 1998 following an introduction by an intermediary. At that time the management buyout transaction involved a GBP5.3 million equity injection by Barclays Private Equity. In return for its investment Barclays Private Equity took a large minority stake in the business and was the sole venture capital investor. Debt and working capital facilities were provided by NatWest Acquisition Finance.

1980s Redux

Dealerfield was created in the mid-1980s to exploit the concept of offering books, stationery and other giftware to customers in the workplace through the use of self contained displays. The direct selling route to market and high quality, low cost products proved a successful formula for Dealerfield.

Barclays Private Equity came to invest in Colour Library Direct the previous year in February 1998. The investment came about as Barclays Private Equity bought assets that were Colour Library Direct from the Quadrillo publishing group. Barclays Private Equity invested GBP1 million in the business for a minority share holding and it was joined by a number of private investors that also invested in the business at the time.

“We are delighted to have backed these very successful businesses and through a buy and build strategy, to have taken a leading role in the consolidation of the market,” Phil Griesback of Barclays Private Equity. “Dealerfield and Colour Library Direct have an approach to retail that allows customers to see and touch products at their leisure. This is something no e-tailer can offer.”