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Gresham House Ventures sells stake in stand-up paddleboard specialist Tushingham Sails

Growth equity investor Gresham House Ventures has sold its stake in Vian Marketing, the holding company for stand-up paddleboard owner Tushingham Sails, best known for its Red Paddle Co brand.

Growth equity investor Gresham House Ventures has sold its stake in Vian Marketing, the holding company for stand-up paddleboard owner Tushingham Sails, best known for its Red Paddle Co brand.

The business, which was held in the Mobeus VCTs, is being sold to the Myers Family Office. The Mobeus VCTs fully realised their investment on completion of the sale, generating a money multiple of almost five-times.
 
In 2015, the Mobeus VCTs invested GBP4 million for an approximate 32 per cent stake in Vian Marketing, funding an equity release for the founders. The VCTs later supported the management buy-out of the business by the current CEO and founder of the Red Paddle Co brand John Hibbard, as well as finance director Helen Shears, increasing their stake to approximately 50 per cent.
 
Since the initial investment, Vian Marketing has almost doubled its revenue and almost trebled its EBITDA, driven by the growth of Red Paddle Co and Red Original, its recently launched accessories brand.
 
The stand-up paddleboard market has taken off in recent years, becoming even more popular throughout the pandemic with the increased focus on outdoor activities. Stand-up paddleboard equipment is now carried by mainstream retailers, such as John Lewis, which recently partnered with Red Paddle Co.
 
Founded in 1977 by Roger Tushingham, Tushingham Sails is a water sports equipment manufacturer and distributor best known for its windsurfing sails and Red Paddle Co stand-up paddle boards, which are widely acknowledged as the global market leaders.
 
The deal follows the acquisition of the Mobeus VCTs by Gresham House in October, which saw Gresham House become a leading player in the VCT segment, with approximately £850m of assets across its VCT range. The Mobeus VCTs’ focus on unquoted companies and emphasis on total return is highly complementary to Gresham House’s Baronsmead VCTs, which invest in unlisted and public companies to deliver consistent dividends.
 
Managing Director, VCT Portfolio at Gresham House Ventures, Clive Austin, says: “Our investment in Vian Marketing supported the transition from founder management and the continued development of the Red Paddle Co and Red Original brands, helping to cement Red Paddle Co’s position as the leading premium brand in the stand-up paddleboard market globally. It has been a pleasure working with the original founders and the current team, and we are excited to see how the business continues to develop in partnership with the Myers Family Office.”
 
John Hibbard, Vian Marketing CEO and founder of Red Paddle Co, adds: “Gresham House Ventures and the Mobeus VCTs have been a pleasure to work with and the perfect partners over the last few years. Thanks to Clive and the wider team for having the confidence to back us in the management buy-out and the ongoing belief in the brand and product.”
 
The shareholders of Vian Marketing were advised by Grant Thornton, Michelmores, Bishop Fleming and Clarke Willmott. The Myers Family Office was advised by Browne Jacobson, KPMG and Macfarlanes.

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