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Apax Funds to acquire

Funds advised by Apax Partners (Apax Funds) are to acquire a majority stake in, a leading digitally innovative global luxury-fashion brand.

The founders, Tom and Ruth Chapman, as well as existing venture capital backers Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and Highland Europe, will retain minority stakes in the business. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in Q4 2017. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
Founded in 1987 by Tom and Ruth Chapman is today a global luxury-shopping destination for men and women offering a modern edit of over 450 established and emerging designers, and delivering to 176 countries. Headquartered in The Shard, London, employs over 500 people.
The Chapmans say: “ has redefined the face of luxury commerce and become renowned globally for having the fashion point of view. The business has never been in a stronger position and we want to thank our loyal customers, the exceptional brands and the brilliant people who we are fortunate enough to work with. They inspire us every day to be better. 
“We are delighted that Apax Partners have taken a majority stake in the business. After 30 years of growing this business Ruth and I are ready to take on new challenges while remaining shareholders and taking on an advisory role. Our world class team led by CEO, Ulric Jerome and CFO, Fiona Greiner will continue to drive to becoming the number one luxury fashion commerce company in the world.” 
Ulric Jerome, chief executive of, says: “The management team and I are delighted to partner with Apax to continue to support’s growth on a global scale and realise our potential to become the number one luxury fashion commerce company in the world. Apax’s experience in both consumer and technology spaces will be a great fit with our business and I look forward to working with them to strengthen our unique positioning. 
“It is very important that, on behalf of everyone in the family, I recognise the incredible vision and work of our founders, Tom and Ruth. Over 30 years they have created an exceptional brand, renowned and recognised globally and respected by the industry. They gave this business its DNA and we will carry that forward.” 
Gabriele Cipparrone, a partner at Apax Partners, says: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with, which has emerged as one of the leading players in the online luxury space globally. Tom and Ruth, along with Ulric and his management team, have done a tremendous job in expanding the business in a sector that continues to demonstrate huge growth potential. Online penetration of the luxury market is still small and we anticipate this will grow significantly in the coming years., with its distinctive assortment, unique voice, and unparalleled customer service, is ideally placed to attract and encourage this growth in the online luxury market.”
Qatalyst Partners is acting as exclusive financial advisor to and White & Black Limited is acting as legal advisor. 

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