UK consumer-focused private equity firm Piper has hired Leon Hughes, a former director of e-commerce at sports nutrition company Maximuscle, as a specialist in the field of e-commerce and social media.
Piper has a history of investing in direct to consumer businesses, including Boden, Gray & Osbourn and Diet Chef, and believes that there will continue to be significant opportunities to invest in branded direct and online businesses, the firm said.
Piper also invested in Maximuscle, in which it bought a stake in 2004 and netted a ten times multiple on its investment after selling its share to UK lower mid-market firm Darwin Private Equity in December 2007 for £75m.
Hughes has been hired to ensure that the firm’s expertise in this area is further strengthened. This will enable Piper to diligence prospective investments more effectively and to do so alongside their in-house consumer insight research capabilities, it said.
Libby Gibson, a partner at Piper, said, “We are delighted that Leon agreed to join the Piper team. Having worked alongside him during our ownership of Maximuscle, we know that his skills and knowledge will enormously benefit both Piper and our investee companies. Indeed, he has already been able to significantly contribute to the growth of two of our portfolio companies.”
Hughes has worked as a consultant for a wide range of clients including Shell, Powergen, Divertimenti and Aga Rangemaster. During his time with Maximuscle he established the online and IT infrastructure, created an in house team of online marketeers, web and system developers to build and fulfil more than 20 global e-commerce sites, with total revenues growing from £7m when he joined in 2002 to £40m in 2011.
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