Mayfair Equity Partners (Mayfair), a leading tech and consumer growth investor, has backed the management buy-out of Seraphine, a maternity and nursing brand, which values the company at around GBP50 million.

Mayfair, along with management, has acquired the company from Bridgepoint Growth and entrepreneur founder Cécile Reinaud.

Launched in 2002 as a boutique store in Kensington, London, Seraphine has grown to become an international business selling into 127 countries around the world.

Reinaud identified a gap in the market for a luxury but affordable maternity wear brand. The driving ambition was to create aspirational products that women would want to wear during pregnancy and after pregnancy for nursing. Seraphine has cemented its position as one of the most popular and fastest growing brands in the sector, with its products used by royalty, celebrities, and fashionable mothers all over the globe.

To complement the flagship stores in UK, Europe and the US, Reinaud was an early adopter of e-commerce. In 2017 a majority shareholding was acquired by Bridgepoint Growth whilst Cécile retained 33 percent of the company. That year Seraphine also welcomed David Williams as COO, who joined from ASOS where he was Digital Experience Director.

Working together, Williams and Reinaud spearheaded the brand’s digital evolution, expanding its own international eCommerce whilst in parallel adding and growing digital focused partnerships with brands such as John Lewis, Macy’s, The Iconic, Zalando, and Zalora, facilitating a new global reach.

In 2019 Williams was made CEO, where he further upgraded the business’ digital capabilities, through the launch of more localised websites, improved data analytics, and nationally tailored payment and delivery channels.

Through this innovation and leadership, Seraphine’s revenue has been growing at c30 per cent per annum. Today, c90 per cent of the business’ sales coming through online channels, which have benefited from the acceleration in ecommerce adoption as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With 74 per cent of sales now outside of the United Kingdom, the company won the Queens Award for Enterprise for a second time in 2020 (after previously doing so in 2015) in recognition of its outstanding growth in international trade. Over 30 per cent of sales come from the United States, a market that has achieved strong growth in recent years linked to growing international brand recognition.

The maternity wear market is both large (estimated at cGBP5 billion globally) and growing as a result of increased spend per birth, as mothers and mothers-to-be alike continue to invest more in the pregnancy and nursing journey. Within this market, the online segment is gaining share rapidly, benefiting premium digitally led brands such as Seraphine.

Calling upon Mayfair’s expertise in digitally enabled and e-commerce businesses, Seraphine will look to further expand in new and existing markets, while also investing in product development and new digital channels.

Reinaud says: “I’m delighted that Seraphine is backed by a new investor and will continue its exciting growth journey. Bridgepoint has been incredibly supportive for the last three and a half years and I am now handing over Seraphine to its amazingly talented management team under the leadership of David Williams. As the brand founder I am very proud of the achievements of Seraphine and delighted that my early entrepreneurial vision has blossomed into a global brand loved by mothers all over the globe.”

Williams says: “The global annual market for maternity wear is now more than GBP5 billion. Seraphine is perfectly positioned to capitalise on this with our expanding digital footprint and in-house product team, who design innovative, quality products for mums at every stage of the maternity journey. Over the last few years, we have strengthened our service proposition, marketing, technology and logistics and now have the perfect platform for the next stage of our impressive growth. We have been very selective about who we partner with and have been incredibly fortunate to have found both Bridgepoint and Mayfair. We thank Bridgepoint for all of their support and look forward to the next chapter of our growth story in partnership with Mayfair.”

Daniel Sasaki, Managing Partner at Mayfair Equity Partners, says: “With its depth of range, market leading innovation, and premium brand positioning Seraphine has grown to become a scale specialist maternity and nursing brand with a digitally led business model. By investing more in digitally led growth, specialist product innovation, and increased brand marketing, we will be backing the Seraphine team to accelerate their growth in the UK, Europe, US. We are thrilled to be partnering with David and the Seraphine team.”

Duncan Calam, Partner at Bridgepoint Growth, says: “Seraphine has made excellent progress during our investment period, growing from the leading UK maternity business to a global brand. It has a commanding position in its market and is well placed to continue its strong track record of growth under new ownership thanks to a proven ability to scale internationally and expand its range to meet customer needs.”

Mayfair was advised by Highstead Partners (M&A) and Goodwin (Legal). Bridgepoint and Seraphine were advised by Rothschild & Co (M&A) and Mishcon De Reya (Legal).


Source: Private Equity Wire