The personal fairness fund which owns a stake in Bullitt Group, the branded cell phone designer, is to give up management of the enterprise lower than 18 months after buying it in a £100m deal.
Sky Information understands that Exponent Personal Fairness, which has efficiently backed firms together with Quorn and Trainline, is anticipated to comply with a restructuring of Bullitt’s funds within the coming weeks.
The change of management is anticipated to see the Enterprise Development Fund (BGF) – a £2.5bn automobile arrange by the UK’s largest excessive road lenders within the aftermath of the monetary disaster – play a number one function in Bullitt’s future.
Individuals near the talks stated that an public sale of Bullitt, which had been triggered by a big quantity of unsold stock, had resulted in a proposal led by the BGF, an present shareholder within the enterprise, and the corporate’s co-founders.
If concluded, the deal would crystallise a uncommon disappointment for Exponent, which has seen every of its funds make spectacular returns for buyers because the agency was arrange greater than a decade in the past.
Among the many different companies it has backed are Loch Lomond Whisky, which it continues to personal, and Radley, the designer purse maker.
Bullitt’s monetary downturn is known to have been triggered by a failed product launch for Land Rover, coupled with weak buying and selling.
The corporate designs branded telephones for firms corresponding to Kodak, and markets them on their capacity to endure rugged environments.
It additionally has a licence to make telephones for Caterpillar, the heavy equipment maker.
The BGF initially invested in Bullitt in 2013, with Exponent shopping for a 65% stake in the summertime of 2017.
Its most up-to-date accounts filed at Firms Home confirmed a robust efficiency in 2017, with 40% gross sales development by quantity of units and a modest enchancment in earnings.
As a part of Exponent’s funding, the corporate drafted in Pieter Knook, a former Microsoft government, as its chairman.
The BGF and Exponent declined to remark.