Scottish Equity Partners helps global crafting giant sew up acquisition

A major online crafting community with millions of users around the world has sealed an acquisition and secured funding worth $22 million (£16m) from parties including Scottish Equity Partners (SEP).

LoveCrafts says the deal increases its market share in a global crafts market worth more than $100 billion. Picture: contributed.
LoveCrafts says the deal increases its market share in a global crafts market worth more than $100 billion. Picture: contributed.

LoveCrafts, which is present in 140 countries and is chaired by ITV chairman Sir Peter Bazalgette, has secured the sum from existing investors, who also comprise Highland Europe and Balderton Capital, alongside Silicon Valley-based debt provider TriplePoint Capital, to facilitate the purchase of Webs – America’s Yarn Store.

The cash boost will also help catalyse LoveCrafts’ expansion amid surging interest in crafting globally – the firm saw a 166 per cent year-on-year increase in orders from new customers between March and November last year.

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The investment is also expected to allow for expansion into new craft categories and geographies to increase LoveCrafts’ share of a global market worth more than $100 billion.

LoveCrafts saw a 166 per cent year-on-year increase in orders from new customers between March and November last year. Picture: contributed.

The acquisition of Massachusetts-based online knitting, crochet and weaving business Webs “is a pivotal moment for the LoveCrafts Group as it becomes the market leader in North America in needlecraft”. It added that fusing LoveCrafts’ “strong tech platform and global community with Webs’ talent and industry expertise positions the company to rapidly grow its global customer base”.

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Sir Bazalgette said: “The integration of Webs into LoveCrafts is another key landmark for our business as we focus on reinventing traditional crafts for a digital age and becoming the end to end destination for crafting enthusiasts across the globe.”

The firm – whose head office is in London, with distribution centres in Selby in the UK and Missouri in the US – said its “unique platform provides a breadth of inspiration, commerce and social connections and has brought together designers, brands and makers from across the crafting world to build a unique and thriving community”.

Steve and Kathy Elkins will continue to run Webs, which they bought in 2002, and assume the roles of chief global yarn officers, overseeing the combined needlecraft businesses worldwide – saying this will allow the LoveCrafts team to further develop their content, commerce and community platform for crafts and continue to build their private label offering.

Glasgow-based SEP says it is one of Europe’s leading growth equity firms and for 20 years has helped founder-led teams to build their businesses and achieve their global ambitions.

"Technology focused, with particular expertise in software and consumer internet companies, SEP has been a supportive investor to some of Europe’s most successful businesses,” it says.

Scottish firms it has backed include travel giant Skyscanner, and healthtech firms Aridhia and Craneware. It is also an investor in Icelandic airline software vendor Dohop, for example, and language learning app Babbel, which last year celebrated 10 million subscriptions sold.

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SEP says it provides expertise and access to an international network as well as investment, and works with management to maximise business growth and value.

Taylor Wessing LLP provided UK legal advice on the fundraise and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati provided US legal advice on the acquisition. EY provided tax structuring and financial and tax due diligence advice to LoveCrafts.

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