UK’s leading cycle firm gears up for growth

Global retailer JD Sports Fashion PLC (“JD Group”) has acquired a majority stake in the UK’s leading premium bicycle retailer, Wheelbase Lakeland Limited (“Wheelbase”).

Founded in 1993, Wheelbase has 45 employees and has grown to become one of the UK’s leading retailers of premium bicycles with three stores across the North of England, including the UK’s largest cycle store in Staveley, Cumbria, and others at Ilkley, Yorkshire, and Darlington in the North East of England.

Wheelbase also has a large online presence selling premium bikes to customers all over the UK. It offers a comprehensive and diverse range of premium bikes including leading brands such as Trek, Cube, Cannondale, Scott, Merida, Pinarello, Whyte, Focus, Nukeproof, Cervelo, BMC, Kona and many more.

The business has a significant presence in the cycling world lending its support to the British Elite road cycling team Wheelbase MGD and supporting junior team Wheelbase CabTech.

For over a decade, Wheelbase has hosted an MTB demo week which attracts nearly 250 riders every year.

Following the investment by the JD Group, Wheelbase is gearing up for further growth by taking advantage of emerging opportunities and a strong outlook for the cycling industry.

The JD Group is a global multichannel retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands with a total of more than 3,300 stores across 30 countries selling leading brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma and The North Face. The JD Group has a significant presence in the Outdoor sector through specialist retailers Go Outdoors, Blacks, Millets, Tiso, Fishing Republic and Naylors Equestrian.

As part of the acquisition, Wheelbase’s full management team and brand will be retained.

Wheelbase was advised by Cavu Corporate Finance’s Managing Director Shawn Bone and Assistant Director Sahil Nayyar who led the deal on behalf of the shareholders.

Leading law firm for businesses Muckle LLP advised Wheelbase on all corporate aspects of the deal, and negotiations were led by award-winning corporate lawyers and Partners Philip Clare and Matthew Walsh.

The JD Group were advised by Napthens LLP with the team led by Corporate Partner Rob Dobson.

Chris Herd, Managing Director of Wheelbase Lakeland Limited, said: “We are extremely pleased to partner with the JD Group. It provides the perfect platform for the Wheelbase brand to develop and strengthen our position within the cycling sector, which is full of growth and opportunity.”

Toby Dalton, Commercial Director of Wheelbase Lakeland Limited, said: “The JD Group will bring world-class operational support to Wheelbase. We look forward to a new era of development and can’t wait to get the wheels in motion.”

Lee Bagnall, CEO of the Outdoor division within the JD Group, said “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of Wheelbase. We have been impressed by the capabilities of the management team and we look forward to working with them to enhance the cycling offer within the JD Group.”

Shawn Bone, Managing Director at Cavu Corporate Finance, said: “We are delighted to have been part of the Wheelbase story and to have delivered an excellent result for the shareholders, JD Group and the Wheelbase employees. It has been a real pleasure to work with the Wheelbase team and we wish them the very best for the future.”

Matthew Walsh, Partner in the Corporate Team at Muckle LLP, said: “We are proud to have supported Wheelbase on this deal, which represents an important milestone in their successful business journey.

“I’d like to congratulate the team at Wheelbase for their success so far, and with the JD Group’s support, I am sure that they are well on the road to greater success. As a leading law firm for businesses, it is fantastic to see an already successful business going from strength to strength.”

Rob Dobson, Corporate Partner at Napthens LLP, said “We are delighted to have been able to advise the JD Group on its latest acquisition and continued growth. Wheelbase is a high-profile business in the cycling world and we wish Wheelbase and the JD Group every success for the future.”

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