Logistics firm Clipper attracts private equity interest

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Clipper Logistics Plc is attracting interest from buyout firms as the British company benefits from the rise in online shopping, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Cinven is among private equity firms that have been evaluating the Leeds-based company, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Other potential suitors including CVC Capital Partners have also in the past looked at the firm, the people said.

Shares of Clipper rose as much as 9.8% in London on Wednesday, giving the retail logistics specialist a market value of 496 million pounds ($640 million). Deliberations are ongoing, and there’s no certainty they will result in formal bids, the people said.

Representatives for Cinven, Clipper and CVC declined to comment.

The coronavirus crisis has created rising e-commerce demand, with customers stuck indoors ordering everything from food delivery to clothing and items for home improvement. Clipper operates a fleet of more than 470 vehicles and counts U.K. retailers including Asda, John Lewis Plc and Marks & Spencer Group Plc among its clients.

In April, the company was awarded a contract to help establish a supply chain for delivering personal protective equipment to the U.K.’s National Health Service as Covid-19 hospitalizations began to rise.

The company’s biggest shareholder is executive chairman and founder Steve Parkin, who owns about a 25% stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg News