Piper Private Equity sells stake in Sofa Workshop

Piper Private Equity has disposed of its minority stake in the Sofa Workshop Group following the GBP12.25 million sale of the business to MFI Furniture Group. Piper made a series of development capital investments between 1990 and 1993 amounting to GBP1.8 million and has been actively involved in helping management grow the business. The firm has made a return of six times its original investment.

UK-based Sofa Workshop was founded in 1985 by Andrew Cussins. The business now has 24 stores nationally and a joint venture overseas and operates three brands, Sofa Workshop, Viva Sofas and Sofa Workshop Direct, a direct selling operation offering a smaller range of sofas. Since Piper’s original investment sales have grown from GBP2.5 million to over GBP35 million in 2002.

Christopher Curry of Piper Private Equity, who led the divestment said: “Sofa Workshop is a strategic purchase for MFI giving them access to the GBP2.6 billion upholstered furniture market. MFI intends to use the brand and the management expertise to become a major player in this market.”

Piper Private Equity focuses on investments in branded consumer businesses taking equity stakes of between GBP1 million and GBP5 million in the leisure, retail and travel sectors. Investments include Boden, Tootsies’ Restaurants, Las Iguanas, Rohan, Gray & Osborn and Pitcher & Piano, which it founded.