Fox International - Sold

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Fox is being acquired by Lew’s (backed by new long-term investor BDT Capital Partners) from shareholders including Mayfair Equity Partners and Next Wave Partners, both of which are selling their entire stakes. Mayfair has become one of the UK’s best-regarded private equity firms investing in medium-sized companies since it was established in 2014. It now owns stakes in companies including Ovo Energy, the challenger utility, and YO! - which is the parent company of Yo Sushi. The sale of Fox is its first exit since its inaugural fund began being invested four years ago.

None of those involved in the talks would comment, but one source said Lew’s was paying in the region of £150m for Fox, representing a roughly threefold increase on its valuation when it was acquired by Mayfair in 2015. Lew’s and Fox are said to be planning to retain their existing management structures and brands following the transaction.

The fishing equipment market continues to grow globally, and in the US has almost 50 million participants – ahead of pastimes such as cycling, golf and tennis. Since being acquired by Mayfair, Fox has made two international acquisitions: Salmo and Spomb.

The company sells more than 3,000 products in about 30 countries. Lew’s is understood to have seen off competition to buy Fox from a number of other operators in the fishing tackle market.

Mick Clifford