Piper Private Equity sells stake in Sofa Workshop

Piper Private Equity has disposed of its minority stake in the Sofa Workshop Group following the £12.25 million sale of the business to MFI Furniture Group. Piper made a series of development capital investments between 1990 and 1993 amounting to £1.8 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 £2.5 million to over £35 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 £2.6 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 £1 million and £5 million in the leisure, retail and travel sectors. Investments include Boden, Tootsies’ Restaurants, Las Iguanas, Rohan, Gray & Osborn and Pitcher & Piano, which it founded.