Cycling 'lifestyle' brand Rapha, yesterday announced it was selling a majority stake to a company set up by the grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton. Surprisingly, the upmarket cycling apparel retailer is being bought by the heirs of the supermarket chain known to 'pile it high, watch it fly'.
Rapha, whose jerseys start at £75, have agreed the sale for a reported £200million. Best known for their recent partnership with Team Sky, clothing the likes of Chris Froome, the company currently has a turnover of £67 million a year.
While the association between the two brands seems unlikely, the buyers Tom and Steuart Walton are avid cycling fans. The brothers' shared passion for mountain biking has led the Walton Family Foundation to contribute $13 million toward trails in Northwest Arkansas.
Rapha was founded in 2004 by Simon Mottram who will stay on as Chief Executive. The company said:
Cycling lifestyle brand Rapha is delighted to announce that US-based RZC Investments is now the majority shareholder in the business. Rapha has been owned since launch by Simon Mottram and a group of founder shareholders, including lead investor, Active Partners.
Rapha has always had bold ambitions to elevate the sport of cycling and drive participation at all levels... and through the Rapha Clubhouses in key cities, the global Rapha Cycling Club (RCC), the in-house Rapha Travel business, and global Rapha events series.
RZC Investments is backing Rapha founder Simon Mottram and his leadership team to deliver the next phase of their strategy. Steuart Walton, co-founder of RZC Investments, commented:
“Rapha represents the very best in the world of cycling. Our investment demonstrates our enthusiasm for its quality products, amazing community of cyclists and customers and its strong future. Rapha’s strategic vision has set the company on a path of tremendous growth and opportunity. We’re excited to be part of this next chapter by bringing the best sport in the world to more people in more ways and places.”