Highbourne, a group that already includes City Plumbing Supplies (CPS) and Plumbing Trade Supplies (PTS), has taken over Plumbworld.
The deal was motivated by Highbourne’s desire to add retail customers (B2C) to its existing trade (B2B) customer base.
Plumbworld was founded in 1999 by James Hickman and sold to Grafton Group in 2006. Mr Hickman bought it back again in 2019, with private equity backing from Panoramic Growth Equity. Its official name is Online Home Retail Ltd. In 2020 it turned over £61m from sales of bathroom, kitchen, plumbing and heating products and made a pre-tax profit of £3m.
Highbourne Group is also private equity owned, by HIG Capital, which acquired the plumbing interests of Travis Perkins last year for £325m and set up Highbourne as a holding company.
Dave Evans, chief executive of Highbourne Group, said: “The acquisition of Plumbworld enables us to take our proven trade customer proposition and market leading supply chain to retail customers too – meaning that we can provide customers across the UK with even quicker access to what they need, when they need it.”
Plumbworld chief executive James Hickman, who has now sold his business twice, said: “The integration of Plumbworld into the Highbourne Group is an exciting new chapter for our business. The Highbourne Group are creating real momentum in the market and I see enormous potential for Plumbworld as part of that growth plan.”