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Bridgepoint in the News

15 January 2016

Bridgepoint acquires Polish children’s products retailer Smyk

Smyk, the leading retailer of children’s apparel, toys and accessories in Poland, has been acquired by Bridgepoint from Empik Media & Fashion, a Warsaw Stock Exchange-listed retail group, in a transaction totalling €247 million.

Established in 1952 as a toy and apparel retailer in Warsaw, Smyk now operates a network of 125 stores in Poland and has a growing presence in Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Germany. The company has four store formats comprising a combination of megastores (typically located in retail parks), city stores, small stores in mid-sized cities and local malls, and outlets. It has also recently introduced an apparel-only 'shop-in-shop' format for its international markets. 12% of sales are currently made online. 2015 revenues are forecast to reach PLN 1,449 million.

Smyk CEO Mark Rollman said: "Smyk has a proven track record of success and enjoys high appreciation amongst its customers, especially in relation to its exciting fashion and toys offer. With the introduction of a new shareholder who is experienced in retail and is very supportive of our ambitions, we now have the opportunity to roll out our proven store concept, develop our exciting multichannel proposition and accelerate our international franchising and wholesaling expansion."

Khai Tan, partner responsible for Bridgepoint's investments activities in the CEE, added: "Smyk is the market leader in a fast growing sector and is well positioned to seize future opportunities for expansion. It has a strong brand heritage and is run by an experienced and talented management team. This business has established a strong foundation for progress based on a brand that is well-known for its superior quality, range and leading service levels. In partnership with Bridgepoint, we have the opportunity to grow into a larger, more efficient and more international business."

Krzysztof Rabiański, CEO of EM&F Group said: "Smyk has been our long-term investment and I am proud of this unique concept and shareholders', business value that we created over the years of consistent development of this asset. Our mission in Smyk has come to an end and I wish the new owner and the management team of Smyk further success."

Spend per child in this market is significantly lower than that recorded in Western European markets. The children's products market is forecast to grow at c.5% per annum whilst Smyk's specialised niche is expected to grow at an even greater rate of 11% per annum. This growth will continue predominantly through increase of spend per child, with clear evidence emerging that as Polish families get richer, there is a strong correlation between their disposable income growth and child spend across toys and apparel.

This investment was made by Bridgepoint Europe V, a €4 billion European middle market buyout fund. Bank debt for this transaction was provided by Pekao. Cornerstone Partners of Poland will take a small minority in the Bridgepoint-led acquisition.

Advisers involved in the transaction included:

- For Bridgepoint: Weil (legal), PwC (M&A, financial, tax, IT), Pekao IB (IB), OC&C (commercial), Environ (environmental), CEE CG (management referencing), Marsh (insurance), Colliers (real estate)

- For EM&F: J P Morgan (M&A), Clifford Chance (legal), PwC (commercial), EY (financial and tax)

- For Management: Jamieson, Travers Smith (legal)

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