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How we've helped our clients: Gymshark

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Gateley Legal

Gymshark, a D2C online fitness apparel brand, was founded in 2012 by teenager Ben Francis from his garage in his parents’ home in Bromsgrove when he was just 19 years old. It has grown from a screen-printing operation into one of the fastest growing and most recognisable brands in fitness.

Gymshark has won numerous awards, including The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 and The Sunday Times International Track 200. Ben Francis was recently named the youngest-ever winner of EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. Having achieved exceptional growth since inception, and a revenue CAGR of 56% since 2018, Gymshark is now seeing revenues in excess of £250m. It has 1.7 million followers on Facebook and 4.2m on Instagram. 

How did we help Gymshark?

In 2020 we advised Gymshark on all aspects of a minority investment by private equity firm General Atlantic. The transaction process commenced in June and reached signing within a 10-week period utilising technology to support global remote working due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. The transaction valued Gymshark at £1bn+ equity value and saw them join an exclusive list of fewer than 25 British companies to have secured unicorn status since 2001. Founder Ben Francis has retained a majority stake of over 70% whilst co-founder shareholder Lewis Morgan exited the business in full as part of this transaction. The deal will help support the brand further as it continues its growth in the global athleisure market. 

Gateley was involved throughout the investment process, designing the programme for selecting a corporate finance adviser, as a result of which PwC was successfully appointed. Gateley then worked closely with the Gymshark shareholders and PwC and to deliver a global deal in a COVID-19 environment. The full range of specialists from across Gateley Legal were involved in this deal, from corporate to data protection, from IPR to employment, from pensions to real estate, not forgetting tax, insurance and banking experts.

The team at Gateley Legal have been brilliant since our partnership started almost six years ago. I’d like to thank everyone at Gateley Legal for their incredible hard work throughout this process.
Ben Francis, Founder, Gymshark

Looking back on our relationship with Gymshark

Corporate partner, Tom Rush commented “We first started working with Gymshark in 2014 and the Gateley team has genuinely enjoyed being part of the journey since then. The Gymshark brand has disrupted the athleisure market and the business has a dynamism and ethos that is rarely seen. Their phenomenal success is matched by the humble and co-operative nature of its leadership team and employees. Gymshark’s story is not only fantastic for the Midlands, but for the UK as a whole. It shows that any young person who is like Ben can succeed and achieve something extraordinary if they have the drive, vision and an ability to listen and learn from others."

Paul Richardson, Executive Chairman of Gymshark added: “We have worked with the team for a few years now and on a range of areas as our business has grown. It’s been so important for us to have advisers around us that we cannot only trust but that will also tell it like it is and Gateley has certainly proved itself to be one of those. We look forward to working with them as we take this next important step in the Gymshark story.”

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