Business News

US stake boosts value of Gymshark to £1 billion

American private equity business General Atlantic has acquired a stake in Solihull-based Gymshark, in a deal that values the fitness clothing firm at more than £1bn. At the same time, Gymshark founder Ben Francis has

Van Gogh Alive

comes to Brum Birmingham Hippodrome is this month hosting UK premiere of ‘Van Gogh Alive’, which showcases the old master painter’s works as a ‘multi-sensory arts and entertainment experience’. Produced by Grande Exhibitions, the exhibition has already been viewed by more than six million people across 50 cities around the world. At the Hippodrome, it will

occupy the auditorium – and it will be the first time that the public has been allowed back into the theatre since the lockdown began. The exhibition will use

‘immersive gallery technology’, which will see more than 3,000 images projected in the exhibition space, accompanied by a classical score and a light show. The effect of this will give the visitor the sensation of walking right into Van Gogh’s paintings. Bruce Peterson, owner of

Grande Exhibitions, said: “The global exhibition is a perfect Covid-aware experience for the whole family. We visited a number of venues in the UK, but as soon as we entered Birmingham Hippodrome, we knew we had to bring our Van Gogh Alive here.” Fiona Allan, artistic director

and chief executive officer of the Hippodrome, said: “Having been closed to the public since March, and it being financially unviable for Birmingham Hippodrome to reopen for live performance until social distancing guidance is relaxed, we have had to completely rethink how to use the building. “The opportunity to do

something completely different with our spaces, and still provide a high quality and compelling cultural experience, came at exactly the right moment. I’m proud we are partnering with Grande Exhibitions to host the UK premiere of Van Gogh Alive.”

6 CHAMBERLINK October 2020

increased his own stake in the business to 70 per cent. General Atlantic has taken a 21 per cent stake in

Gymshark, and Melis Kahya Akar, the firm’s head of consumer for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), will sit on the Gymshark board.

‘We are nothing without our community, so we will use this new investment partnership to get even closer to them on a truly global scale’

General Atlantic says the deal will support further

growth and international expansion, specifically into North America, where Gymshark has already established its largest customer base. General Atlantic was founded in New York in 1980 by billionaire Charles F. Feeney, and initially focused its activities on computer software, oil and gas exploration, real estate and retailing. At the end of the 1999, the company began expanding outside America, and now has 14 offices

It’s a wrap: how Selfridges will look during the revamp to its exterior

around the world. Among its investments in Europe is, a Czech-based online travel tech business. Gymshark sells its fitness clothing in more than 130

countries, and has its headquarters at Blythe Valley in Solihull. The firm is a patron of Future Faces Chamber of Commerce. Mr Francis said: “It has been an incredible ride over

the last eight years to get to this point, but today signals the next chapter in the Gymshark story. “We are nothing without our community, so we will

use this new investment partnership to get even closer to them on a truly global scale. I’m incredibly proud of what Gymshark has achieved to date from our roots in Birmingham, but it’s all about looking forward. “I firmly believe Gymshark has the potential to be to

the UK what Nike is to the US and Adidas is to Germany, and today is a significant step to realising that.” Melis Kahya Akar said: “Fitness apparel is a large and

resilient market with growth potential. Gymshark has managed to create a substantial social community around its products and services, generating brand awareness and loyalty. We are thrilled to be partnering with Ben and the team to build on Gymshark’s offering globally.”

• Gymshark volunteers help charity – Page 29

Iconic Selfridges building to get a revamped look

The Selfridges building in the Bullring is going to lose its world- famous silver disks – but not permanently. The 15,000 disks are to be

removed during a revamp of the store, which starts this Autumn and is expected to be completed ahead of the city’s Commonwealth Games event in 2022. Once the disks are gone, the building will be wrapped in an unusual patterned hoarding created by Birmingham born fashion designer and artist Osman Yousefzada. This will be the designer’s first

piece of public art, which he has entitled ‘The Dogtooth Flower’.

Behind the hoarding, Bullring

owner Hammerson will replace the building’s façade and install a new layer of insulation. Once this has taken place, the

building will be re-painted in its original Yves Klein blue paint scheme, before the disks are re- attached. The building, whose design was inspired by a 1960s Paco Rabanne chainmail dress, has become a Birmingham landmark. The renovation works and

insulation upgrade will make the building more energy efficient. Hammerson’s Conrad Bacon said:

“The design and construction of the build means we have made the

decision to undertake these upgrade works now to ensure the building’s long-term future whilst improving its environmental performance.” Osman Yousefzada said: “I feel

very lucky to have been selected from a shortlist of acclaimed international artists asked to design the scaffolding wrap. “As an artist and designer, whose

clothes have been stocked at Selfridges since my first ever collection, it is amazing to think that I will be dressing Selfridges itself. This will be my first piece of public art and to be able to do it on such a scale is truly exciting.”

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