MBO for Character World

Samantha Loveday

By Samantha Loveday

April 7th 2008 at 2:48PM
MBO for Character World

Founder Tommy Schweiger sells stake in licensed bedding company as private equity house RJD Partners takes a shareholding.

Ambitious licensed bedding company Character World is on track for further growth following a management buy out led by private equity house RJD Partners and part funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which values the firm at some £20m.

The deal sees co-founder and chairman Tommy Schweiger selling his stake in the business, which he founded in 1998. His sons, Danny and Mark, will continue to run the Manchester-based business, while Tommy will be involved as a consultant.

Character World has enjoyed substantial growth over the past decade thanks to a number of lucrative deals which have seen it win licences for several children's favourites.

Long-standing licences include The Simpsons, Spider-man, Thomas the Tank Engine, Noddy, Fifi and the Flowertots, Bob the Builder, Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and Star Wars.

Last year it signed a prestigious contract with Disney, which has seen it produce items featuring the likes of High School Musical, Hannah Montana, Cars, Power Rangers and Disney Princess amongst others.

Most recently, Character World has inked agreements to feature Elvis Presley, Peppa Pig, Roary the Racing Car and Rachael Hale.

"There was no shortage of interest in Character World and we are delighted to have been chosen to support the company, as there was a clear cultural and commercial fit," said Alex Hay from RJD Partners.

"The Schweigers have built an excellent business and we are excited about working with them to continue the upward trajectory."

Although RJD will take a sizeable stake in the company and a seat on the board, Danny and Mark will retain a major shareholding and stay in control on a day-to-day business.

Danny Schweiger explained: "In less than decade, Character World has grown significantly. We are all extremely excited about the new phase we are entering with the fantastic backing of RJD.

"My brother Mark and I will continue to run the business. We intend to take the company to even greater things. The future is full of opportunities that we intend to grasp."

The deal has been financed through a combination of management reinvestment, funds managed by RJD Partners and banking facilities provided by RBS.