King of Shaves opens the floor for acquisition offers

Bids for the British business could reach £45m

The British shaving company King of Shaves has appointed Alpha Advisory group to sell the business.

Founder Will King confirmed the appointment on his blog, saying: “Following a number of expressions of interest in The King of Shaves Company Ltd., the board of directors and I have appointed Alpha Advisory PTE, a Singapore based corporate finance adviser to advise us on strategic options.”

King founded the business from his back bedroom in 1993, after being made redundant by the corporate communications firm he worked for. Starting with just £15,000, the company made significant losses in the first two years of trading before rising to break Gillette’s near-monopoly of the men’s shaving and grooming products market.

In 2008 The King of Shaves Company launched the first British-engineered razor for more than 100 years – The Azor – which reportedly sold half a million units last year, making it the third-best selling system in the UK. In the 17 months to May 2010, the firm had sales of £11.6m and it has a licensing deal to sell its products in 22,000 stores across the United States.

There has been speculation that a bid could come from professional razor manufacturer Kai Industries. Earlier this year, the firm paid an estimated £1.5m for a 7% stake in King of Shaves, at which stage the shaving company was valued at nearly £25m. However, according to some reports, an outright sale could reach £45m.

Another contender is believed to be the shaving giant Remington, which manages the distribution of King of Shaves’ products in the US, where the men’s wet shave market is worth nearly $2bn. However, Spectrum Brands Holdings – which owns Remington – released a statement today stating that no acquisition offer had been made.

King told Growing Business’ sister site Startups.co.uk in 2009 that he had founded the company with “no perception of the scale of the market he was getting into” but that he hoped to grow the business to hold a 25% market share by 2012.

It is expected that King, who owns 30% equity in The King of Shaves Company, will stay on with the business to assist with further expansion.

To see the full interview with Will King and to read his success story, visit Startups.co.uk

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