Owners get into gear in bid to recycle upmarket Rapha label

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/owners-get-into-gear-in-bid-to-recycle-upmarket-rapha-label-10800668">Owners get into gear in bid to recycle upmarket Rapha label</a>

The owners of Rapha, the upmarket cycling-wear brand, are preparing to cash in on their investment by hiring advisers to oversee a sale of the business.

Sky News understands that Rapha's board has been interviewing investment banks with a view to overseeing an auction later this year.

A sale would come on the back of buoyant interest in cycling in Britain, despite persistent questions over the sport's governance at a professional level.

Rapha was founded in 2004 by Simon Mottram, a branding consultant who disliked the garish polyester outfits which dominated the cycle-wear market.

He subsequently sold a stake in the business to Active Private Equity, which has also acquired stakes in companies including Honest Burger, Soho House and Leon, the healthy fast food chain.

It was unclear on Monday how likely a sale was to take place or the valuation that Rapha could attract.

The company's latest accounts - filed at Companies House for the year to January 2016 - show a surge in sales and gross profit.

Among Rapha's partnerships was a four-year deal to supply Team Sky, the professional cycling team backed by Sky plc (Frankfurt: 893517 - news) , the owner of Sky News.

That deal ended last year.

According to the company, it employed more than 350 people at the end of 2016, and has established an international cycling club which has more than 7,000 members.

Active declined to comment on the appointment of advisers to oversee a sale.

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