Farlows Casts a Line for the Future
BDBCO 870 Limited has become the sole investor in Farlows, the British fishing and outdoor pursuits emporium, after it completed an acquisition deal for an undisclosed sum with the 173 year old Royal Warrant holding retailer.
The deal, which includes the repayment of all debt and the provision of new working capital, will secure the future for the rural stalwart, which has faced challenging trading conditions and expansion struggles.
Recognised names in country pursuits form part of the BDBCO Limited board. Vladimir Rybalchenko of Kharlovka Co. and the Atlantic Salmon Reserve - a Russian national with an over-riding passion for Salmon fishing and conservation - is the majority shareholder and chairman. Rybalchenko’s ASR is the world’s first conservation area for Atlantic salmon, sea trout and wild brown trout and Arctic char.
He is supported by Bryan Richmond Dodd of British Sporting Investments Ltd and Richard Hewitt, chairman of Fish & Fly both existing Farlows directors. Harris and Sheldon Ltd., former owners of Hardy & Greys Ltd, retain a minority shareholding and Justin McCarthy, director of fishing at the Atlantic Salmon Reserve, joins the board.
Farlows’ Pall Mall shop is a Mecca for fly fishing devotees and enjoys the patronage of both amateur and expert angling enthusiasts alike. Its customer base is increasingly international and the store serves not just those who live the country life but affluent City figures who are being invited into the rarefied salmon fishing and shooting world for the first time.
In addition to stocking brands such as Dubarry, Schoffel and Sage, in recent years the retailer has started redeveloping its own-label clothing and accessories offering. The investment strategy will focus on developing retail channels, including e-commerce expansion for Farlows and sister brand, Sportfish. The deal also brings international growth under one team, following the opening of ‘Farlows on Palace Square’ in St Petersburg with Kharlovka Co. in June 2013.
Commenting on the acquisition, Vladimir Rybalchenko said:
“Optimising the future for two of fly-fishing and country sports’ iconic brands is a challenge I’m delighted to be spearheading. Farlows has a long history of providing the very best service to its game fishing clients and safeguarding the future for a new generation of fishing aficionados is now achievable. Sportfish will continue to develop its award winning direct sales channels.and with both brands we will be looking closely at the sporting agency and international travel sector.”
Richard Hewitt the Farlow’s Director who negotiated the deal with Mr Rybalchenko added:
“We are all excited that for the first time in many years the business will be properly resourced and will have a platform that can enable our brands to grow substantially.”
HRH The Prince of Wales granted Farlows a Royal Warrant as suppliers of fishing tackle and waterproof clothing in 1982 and well known customers include Jeremy Paxman, Max Hastings, Uma Thurman and Fiona Armstrong.
Farlows was established in 1840 by Charles Farlow and opened its first ‘rod and tackle’ shop at 221 The Strand, London. The retailer has traded from Charles Street and The Royal Arcade, moving to 9 Pall Mall - formerly the Royal Bank of Scotland - in 2004.
Farlows has held a Royal Warrant as suppliers of fishing tackle and waterproof clothing to HRH The Prince of Wales since 1982.
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