Published on 7 - December - 2006
West Coast Capital acquires 30% share in Flying BrandScottish entrepreneur, Sir Tom Hunter and his West Coast Capital (WCC) investment company, has increased its interest in the garden industry by acquiring 29.9% of the mail order group, Flying Brands.
The move follows his purchase of Wyevale Garden Centres earlier this year and his 5.7% stake in Dobbies.
The mail order and internet shopping group trades under such brands as Flying Flowers, Gardening Direct and Garden Bird Supplies.
TBH Trading, wholly owned by WCC, has acquired the shares from two directors for £23.6m.
Both Paul Fraser, non executive chairman of Flying Brands, and Stewart Newton, a non executive director, will be replaced by two WCC nominees, Jim McMahon and Paul Davidson.
Davidson, a partner in WCC, said: "This is a strategic long-term position for West Coast Capital that complements our portfolio of investments.
"We see clear growth opportunities for Flying Brands and we look forward to working with the management team to support Flying Brands' growth as a public company."
WCC said it will not mount a full bid, nor did it buy on the basis of synergies with Wyevale. It sees value in brands exploiting internet retailing to the grey consumer,
Since September, shares in Flying Brands have increased from under 240p to 315p. Despite a profit warning from the company, shares have remained steady.
Observers reckon Sir Tom's long-term thinking may be to bring the brand together with Wyevale based on Flying Brands' credentials - it used to be called Flying Flowers.