Sports kit-maker Castore scores bumper valuation with Raine investment

Business

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 nearly £1bn after scoring a bumper investment from a host of new backers.

Sky News can reveal that 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 publicly on Thursday.

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

Launched in 2016 by Liverpudlian brothers Phil and Tom Beahon, Castore has struck alliances with dozens of the world’s leading sports teams, including McLaren and Red Bull Racing in Formula One, 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 beneath 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.

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Castore said at the time that it had moved swiftly to address the issue.

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

Sir Andy, the three-times Grand Slam winner and twice Olympic gold medallist, has been a shareholder in the company since 2019.

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

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

The business, 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-raise.

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

That deal saw it extend its borrowing facilities to encompass a number of new lenders.

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

Existing shareholders in Castore include the billionaire Issa brothers, who jointly own Asda and the petrol forecourts 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 a medium-term stock market flotation as it expands.

Castore declined to comment.

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