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Catalyst Announces the Sale of EziBuy to Woolworths

22 August 2013

Catalyst Announces the Sale of EziBuy to Woolworths

The shareholders of EziBuy Holdings Limited (“EziBuy”), including funds advised by Catalyst Investment Managers Pty Ltd (“Catalyst”), and entities associated with the founders, Peter & Gerard Gillespie, today announced that they have signed a binding agreement to sell 100% of EziBuy to entities owned by Woolworths Limited (“Woolworths”). Woolworths have made a separate announcement today in this regard.

EziBuy is the market leading direct to customer retailer of apparel and homewares, operating in Australia and NZ. The business was founded by brothers Peter & Gerard Gillespie in Palmerston North in 1978 with a single retail store. Today, EziBuy operates a sophisticated direct-to-customer business from its head office in Auckland. The Company services ~600,000 active customers each year, supported by a built for purpose B2C distribution facility, and contact centre. EziBuy transacts over 50% of its annual sales online, and now generates over 60% of its total sales from customers in Australia.

Catalyst acquired its shareholding in EziBuy in 2007. Since then the business has significantly grown its revenue and earnings, through continued customer acquisition, particularly in Australia, further investment in its online offering and capabilities, and expansion of its product range.

Commenting on the transaction, Catalyst Managing Director Trent Peterson said “We are pleased that EziBuy will become part of the Woolworths Group, who support the current management team, and will drive further growth”.

Catalyst has enjoyed a successful partnership with our co-shareholders, Peter & Gerard Gillespie, and the senior management team of EziBuy. We collectively believe the Company is well positioned to capitalise on a range of growth opportunities under Woolworths’ ownership.

EziBuy co-founders, Peter and Gerard Gillespie said: “When we started EziBuy we never envisaged that 35 years later we would be as successful as a business as we are today. A huge amount of this success is due to the combined efforts of a great team of loyal people.”

EziBuy chief executive Simon West said: “We are delighted to have the backing of Woolworths as we embark on the next phase of our growth. The Companies share strong ‘customer first’ cultures, and each focus on delivering great product and service.”

He added; “The success of EziBuy to date has been about providing our customers with great service, convenience, quality fashion and home wares, and value for money. This remains our priority.”

The transaction is valued at NZ$350 million, and remains subject to approval from New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office.

The current EziBuy shareholders will retain their shareholding in Max Fashions, a leading specialty retailer of women’s fashion in NZ.

ENDS

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