Dutch pram maker Bugaboo is up for sale in a deal that could be worth €200 million following a row between its co-owners, according to a report by Reuters. The company is best known for its appearance in hit TV series "Sex and The City" in 2002.
Bugaboo was founded by former brothers-in-law Eduard Zanen and Max Barenbrug. Now, it looks like a disagreement between the two has put it on the market. The row first became public during a court hearing on March 7th. Zanen claimed Barenbrug continued to influence strategic direction despite agreeing to a design role. He decided to invoke a 2012 agreement that either could trigger the sale of the company to a third party. That disagreement was settled without a ruling, but reports suggest the partners have now agreed to a sale.
Bugaboo develops and manufactures mobility products such as baby strollers for toddlers and newborn babies in the Netherlands and internationally. Headquartered in Amsterdam, Bugaboo employs over 1,200 people and its products are available in over 50 countries.
The company made a pretax profit of €16.8m on sales of €95m in 2015, according to its most recent filing with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. Bugaboo’s strollers can cost more than $1000 and its list of customers include numerous high-profile names, like Gwynneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, and Elton John.
The global baby stroller and pram market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 5.7% until 2021, according to the latest market research report. With changing consumer lifestyles, the need for products that are convenient for the parent yet comfortable and safe for the child is increasing at a swift pace. Therefore, their reliance on products such as baby strollers and prams has increased, fueling the growth of the market. Strollers with added features that enhance multifunctionality are gaining popularity, and this is likely to have a positive impact on the growth of the market over the course of the next five years.
Rabobank, which has been given the commission to sell the company, said it will approach both strategic and private equity buyers.
"Selling is the wisest decision in a situation like this: when the owners start to fight, that can be the beginning of the end for a lifestyle brand," Dutch marketing specialist Paul Moers told Reuters.
"It's not too late for Bugaboo, not by any means," he said. "Find a buyer with knowledge of sales and marketing and the power to invest behind advertising and you can grab market share, become a much bigger player."
Possible buyers for Bugaboo include competitors Britax, Stokke, Quinny, Graco and LVMH, among others.
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