Blackstone buys in to ISD expansion

Inflexion is to sell its stake in UK based multi-channel home shopping retailer Ideal Shopping Direct (IDS)  to fund manager Blackstone.

No specifics of the deal have been released, but reports suggest the value of the deal is double that of Inflexion’s original stake at around £200m. The deal is also expected to be an enabler of the retailer’s international expansion plans.

The multichannel retailer, whose biggest brands include Create & Craft and Ideal World, sells via TV channels on Sky, Freeview, Virgin Media and Freesat as well as on a range of ecommerce websites. The retailer delivers a dynamic shopping experience selling specialty craft products to dedicated crafting hobbyists as well as home, leisure, health, beauty and fashion products. In fact, Create & Craft is the only dedicated channel to sell specialist craft products and operates 15 hours a day.

Chief executive Mike Hancox, who has been in the role since 2008 is expected to continue in his current role while Gerry Murphy, a senior managing director at Blackstone and former chief executive of both Kingfisher and Carlton Communications, will become chairman.

Gerry Murphy, senior managing director at Blackstone, said, “ISD has succeeded by delivering a varied and exciting range of exclusive products and a great shopping experience to its loyal home shoppers through its websites and mobile platforms. We look forward to working with Mike and his team to capitalise on growth opportunities in omnichannel retailing in the UK and the US.”

ISD’s Mike Hancox said: “We see our future collaboration with Blackstone as a new development opportunity for ISD, from both a geographical and operational stand point. ISD will benefit from Blackstone’s international experience and expertise and from new investment as we enter this next phase of growth.”

The transaction is expected to close later this year, subject to regulatory approval.