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Thompson & Morgan

Founded in 1855, Thompson & Morgan is the UK’s largest supplier of seeds, young plants and other gardening products. It has the most comprehensive seed catalogue in the UK together with a website that features over 8,000 products. The company’s products are sold through major garden centres across Europe, via mail order, online and through TV and newspaper promotions.

Background

Based in Ipswich since its foundation, the company made its entry into the US market in the 1970s, eventually coming under the ownership of a US corporate.  When the US owner decided to sell Thompson & Morgan, the company’s management team were keen to acquire the company. They chose Primary because they believed that we were the best partner to support their plans for both organic growth of the existing products and channels and making key acquisitions in the gardening product sector.

The Big Idea

The business was expected to show strong organic growth given the expanding age demographic of gardeners and we and the team saw the opportunity, with a low leverage capital structure, to build on the company’s leading market position through strategic acquisitions of live gardening product businesses.

The Grand Plan

Thompson & Morgan has so far made four acquisitions which have assisted in broadening the product and brand portfolio.  The business has made significant operational improvements, including the implementation of an ERP system and the recent consolidation of all key operations into its Ipswich premises.

The Bottom Line

Turnover more than doubled since the buyout and the company has consolidated its market leading position, including internet revenue being over twice that of its nearest competitor.  The business was sold to BVG Group in March 2017, generating a return of 2.9x the cost of investment.

 

Thompson and Morgan logo

Investment Summary

Date of investment:  May 2002
Deal status:  Realised
Date of realisation: March 2017

Investment return multiple: 2.9x

Company website:  www.thompson-morgan.com
For more information talk to Peter Jacobs or Neil Wallace

 

“Legal, decent, honest and truthful. No - not the CAP Advertising Code. Our assessment of Primary, its people and ethos.
   In our experience, management teams who play it straight and wish to build and realise shareholder value would be hard pushed to find a better private equity partner than Primary.”


John May, Thompson & Morgan

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