16th March 2019
One of Europe’s biggest privately owned fishing tackle companies, Fox International Group Ltd., who specialise in carp and predator tackle, is said to be for sale and the asking price could be as much as £150m. It has been reported that private equity firm Mayfair Equity Partners, current owner of the carp fishing brand, has appointed banker, William Blair, to prepare the company for sale.
This will be the third time in recent years that the company has changed hands, having been initially bought by New Wave partners in 2014 for an estimated £30m, before Mayfair Equity Partners bought a majority stake in 2015. Prior to receiving investment from Next Wave Partners, Fox was close to being bought by American company Zebco. However, the deal collapsed at the last minute, with Zebco going on to purchase rival UK business Preston Innovations in 2014.
The company was established in an Essex workshop in 1964 by Cliff Fox (now retired), who began making metal fish rulers at a time when fish size limits were applied to all species on popular River Thames competitions. The first ever ‘Fox’ branded product, a metal baitdropper, was released in 1967. Fox Angling Supplies became Fox International in 1982 and saw Mr. Fox file a patent for the first adjustable-leg bedchair. The company launched their first bite alarm, the Micron SX, in 1993 and for many subsequent years ruled the bite alarm market. Fox were also the first company to launch a bite alarm (Micron DXR) with a remote receiver, in 1995.
They now supply well over 3000 individual products worldwide and their portfolio now also includes the Fox Rage (predator angling) and Matrix (match angling) subsidiaries.