Terra Firma Capital Partners announced on Monday plans to acquire The Garden Centre Group from Lloyds Banking Group PLC for £276 million ($438 million) and rejuvenate the U.K.'s largest specialist retailer in gardening and plant products after years spent under the control of debtors.
The private equity group run by Guy Hands said it will finance the buyout with a mix of debt and equity, and plans to invest in the retailer with funds available.
The Garden Centre Group has 129 locations around England and Wales, with brands such as Blooms, Bridgmere, Country Home Gardens and Wyevale, as well as the nation's largest online gardening club.
The Garden Centre has enormous potential and we see considerable opportunity to help it grow through focused, strategic investment, Hands said, according to the Financial Times. [It] is an attractive business for Terra Firma. It already has a leading position in a fragmented market with long-term growth prospects. The Garden Centre's portfolio of garden centres is difficult to replicate given planning restrictions and it has a strong and growing Gardening Club.
The chain has a history of financial troubles. Established in 1962 and publicly listed in 1987, it fell into financial troubles and was taken over in 2006 by Tom Hunter. Lloyds took possession of the retailer in 2009 after The Garden Centre could not service its debts.
I am delighted that the uncertainty over the group's ownership is now resolved, said The Garden Centre's CEO Nicholas Marshall. The group now has solid foundations in place from which to grow.