Blackstone buys Ideal Shopping Direct

Private equity funds managed by Blackstone have bought Ideal Shopping Direct (ISD), the independent multi-channel retailer, from Inflexion.

ISD operates live and pre-recorded channels across UK TV platforms Sky, Freeview, Virgin Media and Freesat as well as multiple internet sites. Its two principal divisions are Create & Craft and Ideal World, which has You Garden supplying its garden products.

Headquartered in Peterborough in the UK and with a growing operation in the US, the company has over 800 employees and, through its TV networks, reaches over 26 million homes. The management team will continue to be led by Mike Hancox, chief executive since 2008. Gerry Murphy, a senior managing director at Blackstone and former chief executive of both Kingfisher and Carlton Communications (ITV), will become xhairman.

The transaction is expected to close later this year and is subject to usual closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Murphy said: "ISD has succeeded by delivering a varied and exciting range of exclusive products and a great shopping experience to its loyal home shoppers through its websites and mobile platforms. We look forward to working with Mike and his team to capitalise on growth opportunities in omni-channel retailing in the UK and the US."

Hancox added: "We see our future collaboration with Blackstone as a new development opportunity for ISD, from both a geographical and operational stand point. ISD will benefit from Blackstone’s international experience and expertise and from new investment as we enter this next phase of growth."

Duff & Phelps acted as advisors to Blackstone.

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