Sports equipment maker Castore scores bumper valuation with Raine investment

Castore, the British sportswear brand backed by Sir Andy Murray and which adorns a host of Premier League football kits, has reached a valuation of almost £1bn. pound after scoring a major investment from a host of new backers.

Sky News can reveal Castore has struck a deal to raise £150m from investors including Raine Group – the US-based merchant bank whose advisory team is working on the sale of a minority stake in Manchester United Football Club.

Sources said the deal would be announced on Thursday.

The capital raising represents a landmark deal for one of the UK’s fastest growing start-ups in the last decade.

Launched in 2016 by Liverpudlian brothers Phil and Tom Beahon, Castore has formed alliances with dozens of the world’s leading sports teams, including McLaren and Red Bull Racing in Formula 1, the England Test cricket team and Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League .

The brothers’ vision was to compete aggressively with global rivals Nike and Adidas in a relatively underserved market for the supply of kits to athletes and supporters of teams under the most elite names.

The company suffered a setback earlier this year when concerns were raised about the quality of some of its products, including by a number of Aston Villa men’s and women’s players.

Castore said at the time that it had moved quickly to resolve the issue.

One of the company’s investors said the new capital would be earmarked for expanding its supply chain, marketing presence and global reach.

Sir Andythe three-time Grand Slam winner and double Olympic gold medalist, has been a shareholder in the company since 2019.

At the time he said it was “a young, exciting brand offering something different, with products that are really well cut and designed”.

“For me it was a natural progression from previous kit partners.”

The company, which mainly sells its products online, positions itself as a high-quality alternative to established rivals such as Adidas and Puma.

Sky News reported earlier this year that Rothschild, the investment bank, had been appointed to orchestrate the capital raising.

Castore was reported to have been valued at £750m. following a debt financing that took place last year.

This agreement saw it expand its lending facilities to include a number of new lenders.

The company’s fundraising is particularly impressive given the backdrop for such deals, which have become increasingly challenging in recent months.

Existing shareholders in Castore include the billionaire Issa brothers, who jointly own Asda, and petrol forecourt giant EG Group.

The founders of Pure Gym and New Look are also among the company’s backers.

Bankers believe Castore is a logical candidate for an IPO in the medium term as it expands.

Castore declined to comment.

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