Owner of Raleigh bikes sold in €1.56 billion deal

US private equity firm KKR has bought Dutch bicycle company Accell Group

Raleigh Bicycle Company
(Image credit: PA)

US private equity firm KKR has bought Dutch company Accell Group, one of Europe's largest bike manufacturers and owner of Raleigh, for €1.56 billion (£1.31 billion).

Accell acquired Raleigh in 2012, adding the British brand to a portfolio which currently includes Haibik, Ghost, Koga, Sparta and Batavus.

Founded in 1885, Raleigh is one of the oldest bicycle companies in the world and is based in Nottingham. Despite American firm KKR acquiring Accell Group, the manufacturer will remain at its UK base. 

Both KKR and Accell Group agree the takeover leaves the bike brands currently owned by the Dutch company better placed for long-term success. KKR has vowed to help Accell deal with the global supply chain problems that have become a major issue in the industry during the pandemic.

Despite Accell's brands recording sales of around 900,000 bikes in 2020, representing a 17 per cent sale increase, a shortage of parts has caused a dramatic increase in wait times between ordering and delivering. The pandemic has exacerbated this problem as more people opt for cycling as an alternative to public transport.

With many of Accell's brands focussing on e-bike sales in recent years too, KKR is hoping the acquisition will help propel its growth in that market. European brands have particularly focussed e-cargo bikes used to deliver goods, which is constantly expanding. 

Benelux head at KKR, Daan Knottenbelt, said: “The consortium is committed to further developing the Netherlands as the global capital of cycling by building on the company’s leading position in the European e-bike market and continuing to grow its strong heritage brands."

Accell's board unanimously supports the deal too, with the firm's chairman Rob ter Haar confident KKR will help the company strategically and “strengthen its position as one of the world’s leading bicycle market players”. 

Accell Chief Executive Ton Aanbeek welcomed KKR's takeover, adding: "[Biking] is the future… and the solution to many societal and city problems as well."

This takeover represents KKR's first move into the cycling sector, with the offer predicted to complete in the third quarter of the financial year. 

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