Cycling brand Rapha sold to Walmart heirs

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Upmarket British cycling brand Rapha has been acquired by RZC Investments, an investment firm set up by Walmart heirs, Steuart and Tom Walton.

RZC paid £200m for the brand in the deal for a majority stake in the business. Brand founder and stakeholder Simon Mottram is expected to retain a minority stake and continue his role as chief executive of the business.

Mottram said: “The arrival of RZC Investments as a shareholder means we can pursue our mission to elevate cycling as a global sport and recruit more participants by engaging them and enabling them to ride with us at all levels.”

Steuart Walton, a keen cyclist himself, said: “Our investment demonstrates our enthusiasm for Rapha’s quality products, amazing community of cyclists and customers and its strong future.”

Rapha was founded in 2004 by Mottram after spotting a gap in the market for fashionable cycling clothes. The company started out selling t-shirts and hats from a rented East London gallery and quickly expanded. Sales are reported as having grown by over 30% each year for the last 11 years and the company has been profitable since 2009.

The capital raised from the investment will be used to establish more stores or “clubhouse” around the world. Road cycling is estimated to be work $47 billion globally.

Rapha currently employs 450 staff and reported sales of £63m in the year to January 2017.

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