Apax has been confirmed as the winner in a bidding war to acquire a majority stake in luxury fashion retailer Matchesfashion.
The specific terms agreed for, including the sum paid, was undisclosed — but it was previously widely estimated to be £800 million in the run-up to the deal.
Tom and Ruth Chapman, who founded Matchesfashion 30 years ago with their debut store in Wimbledon, London, will retain minority stakes in the business.
Existing venture capital backers Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) and Highland Europe will also retain minority stakes, and chief executive Ulric Jerome and chief financial officer Fiona Greiner will remain at the business.
The sale is expected to be finalised in the fourth quarter of the year.
“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,” Tom Chapman said.
Jerome said: “The management team and I are delighted to partner with Apax to continue to support Matchesfashion.com’s growth on a global scale and realise our potential to become the number one luxury fashion commerce company in the world.”
He added: “It is very important that, on behalf of everyone in the Matchesfashion.com 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.”
Since its establishment in 1987, Matchesfashion has grown to employ more than 500 people and operates five bricks-and-mortar stores in London, with a sixth in the pipeline in Mayfair.
The retailer also delivers to 176 countries and its stocks luxury fashion items from more than 450 established and emerging designers.
Apax has previously invested in Tommy Hilfiger and used to own New Look.
The other private equity firms that were reportedly in the race to buy Matchesfashion include KKR, Permira and Bain Capital.