Rapha have announced today that Walmart heirs, Steuart and Tom Walton and their company RZC Investments, have been successful in a bid to buy the majority share of the luxury British cycling brand for £200m.
Simon Mottram, who founded Rapha back in 2004 said:
“This is an exciting day for Rapha. It heralds the start of the next stage of our journey and is testament to the growth and potential that people see in Rapha and in cycling. The arrival of RZC Investments as a shareholder means we can pursue our mission to elevate cycling as a global sport and recruit more participants by engaging them and enabling them to ride with us at all levels”
Mottram will still remain the Chief Executive of the company and will hold a £25m share in the business. The acquisition from RZC Investments will be used to further roll out the Clubhouse network as well as its Membership club and their range of products and services. Further strengthening its leadership in the cycling industry.
Each year has seen the company rapidly expand by more than 25%, especially in overseas markets, with them now shipping to over 100 different countries. Not only has their delivery network been a great success they now have 17 Clubhouses in major cities across the world with a future seven to be opened by the year end.
Steuart Walton, co-founder of RZC Investments, commented:
“Rapha represents the very best in the world of cycling. Our investment demonstrates our enthusiasm for its quality products, amazing community of cyclists and customers and its strong future. Rapha’s strategic vision has set the company on a path of tremendous growth and opportunity. We’re excited to be part of this next chapter by bringing the best sport in the world to more people in more ways and places.”
Many customers and members familiar with both brands will instantly wonder what this will mean for the future of Rapha, especially from a quality point of view. In the last 13 years of its existence the brand has consistently caused a divide amongst the cycling community–lovers and haters. What will this mean for the loyalists of the brand? With backers such as RZC Investments taking over Rapha, which had been for so many years considered a niche brand, this surely is the cementing that in 2017 road cycling is very much a global mainstream affair and will that dilute the passion of the purists? Only time will tell.
Words: Hannah Troop Photos: Rapha Images