Lion Capital LLP

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Lion Capital
Private ownership
Industry Private equity
Predecessor Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Europe (1999-2004)
Founded 2004
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Products Leveraged buyouts, Growth capital
Total assets €4.8 billion
Number of employees

Lion Capital LLP is a British private equity firm specialising in investments in the consumer sector. Previous and current consumer brands owned by Lion have included Weetabix, Jimmy Choo, wagamama, Kettle Foods and AllSaints.[2]

The firm is headquartered in London, England, and employs 30 investment executives across its London and Los Angeles offices.[3]

The firm’s principals have invested approximately €6 billion in more than 30 businesses and more than 100 consumer brands.[1]

Investment Strategy[edit]

Lion Capital seeks to invest in mid and large-sized companies selling branded products, including apparel, accessories and luxury goods, food distribution and specialty retail.[4] Lion Capital’s directors have resisted diversification into other sectors, claiming that their strategy is to know more about less.[1]

Lion Capital’s team draws on its investing and operating expertise to identify consumer brands with growth potential and implement value creating strategies within these businesses, often through geographic expansion, category extension, product innovation or operating improvements.[5] While investments are first and foremost sector driven, Lion Capital focuses on companies in Europe and North America.[4]


Lion Capital was founded in 2004 by Lyndon Lea, Robert Darwent and Neil Richardson with the goal of creating the leading investment firm focused on the consumer sector.[3]

The firm’s predecessor, also run by Lea and Darwent, was launched in 1998 as the European affiliate of American private equity firm Hicks Muse Tate & Furst (now HM Capital).[6] Lea and Darwent separated the European affiliate from its ailing American parent, launching Lion Capital as an independent private equity firm.[7]

In 2004, Lion Capital completed fundraising for its first private equity fund, Lion Capital Fund I, with commitments from institutional investors of €820 million.[8] Over thirty institutions committed capital to Fund I.[3]

In April 2007, Lion Capital established a North American presence, opening an office in New York.[3] That same year Lion Capital raised its second private equity fund, Lion Capital Fund II, with approximately €2.0 billion of investor commitments.,[9][10]

In 2010, Lion Capital formed its third private equity fund, Lion Capital Fund III, which ultimately included capital commitments of €1.5 billion.,[3][11]

In October 2012, the North American office was relocated from New York to Los Angeles.[12]


Lion Capital's portfolio has included some of the world's best known consumer brands.[1] Among the firm's most notable investments are:

  • Bought Weetabix in 2004 for £640 million and sold 60% to Bright Food in 2012 in a deal valuing the company at £1.2 billion[13]
  • Acquired Jimmy Choo in 2004 for £100 million and sold the company in 2007 for £225 million[14]
  • Acquired wagamama in 2005 for £102 million[15] and later sold the company for £215 million in 2011[16]
  • Acquired Orangina Schweppes in 2006 in partnership with the Blackstone Group and later sold the company for €2.6 billion in 2009[17]
  • Acquired Kettle Foods in 2006 for $270 million and sold the company in 2010 for $615 million[18]
  • Acquired HEMA in 2007 in a deal estimated to be worth €1.3 billion[19]
  • Acquired the Findus and Young’s brands in 2008 for £1.1 billion[20]
  • Acquired AS Adventure Group in 2008 for €263 million[21]
  • Invested $80 million in American Apparel in 2009[22]
  • Acquired Bumble Bee Foods for $980 million in 2010[23]
  • Purchased Picard in 2010 for €1.5 billion[24]
  • Acquired AllSaints in 2011[25]
  • Acquired Alain Afflelou in 2012 for €740 million[26]
  • Acquired John Varvatos Enterprises, Inc. in 2012[27]
  • Acquired ghd in 2013 for £300 million[28]
  • Acquired Pittarosso in 2014 for £240 million [29]

See also[edit]


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