Case Study: FDC exits musicMagpie

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  • Leading recommerce retailer, musicMagpie, has gone from strength to strength since FDC’s investment in 2018.
  • As FDC exits musicMagpie following a successful refinance, we explore a classic growth capital success story.

musicMagpie (group) is a leading recommerce retailer which specialises in refurbished consumer technology, disc media and books. The business, which operates in the UK and US, now generates over £150m a year in revenue and has grown to employ more than 750 people in both locales.

The company was founded in 2007 by its current Group Chief Executive, Steve Oliver, and Chief Operating Officer, Walter Gleeson.

Operating a circular economy model, musicMagpie buys used consumer tech products such as mobile phones, games consoles and tablets and physical media items (CDs, DVDs, games and books) from consumers, refurbishes them and sells them back for the next person to use. It refurbishes over 95% of the consumer tech products it buys, giving over 400,000 consumer products per year, a second life.

The firm is the world’s number one transactional reseller in the history of both eBay and Amazon (based on feedback data), but its biggest sales channel is now the direct to consumer online ‘musicMagpie Store’ in the UK, which sells over 80% of the group’s consumer technology products.

Helping consumers stay connected, work and be entertained from home, while enabling them to easily raise fast cash from unwanted items has been especially important during the coronavirus pandemic, creating a surge in people using musicMagpie.

The recommerce market has generally seen strong growth in recent years amidst consumer tech prices increases and the rise of the ‘green consumer’, and musicMagpie is leading the way under its consumer mantra of ‘Smart for you, Smart for the Planet’.

FDC backed musicMagpie in March 2018 with a multi-million-pound investment to support their working capital requirements and expansion in the US market, which has proved highly successful and the business has grown by 25% in its turnover whilst expanding its EBITDA significantly during this time.

Steve Oliver, Chief Executive said:

“Since our inception in 2007, we’ve always invested heavily in scaling up the business and developing our technology that can be applied globally. The initial investment from FDC in 2018 allowed us to capitalise on growing market opportunities such as the demand for refurbished consumer tech products, whilst acting as a catalyst for our growth overseas.

“Over the last two and a half years, FDC has remained a steadfast and flexible investment partner, providing the financial support and stability as our business and operating model has moved forwards rapidly.”

musicMagpie recently completed a refinancing deal, enabling FDC to make successful exit from the investment relationship.

Clive Broadhurst, Portfolio Director, Frontier Development Capital, added:

“When an investee business reaches the scale that musicMagpie has, it underlines precisely how growth capital support like the funding that FDC provides, can scale up a business very quickly.

We’re delighted to have been able to support musicMagpie up to the point of our recent exit from the investment. We look forward to following their journey, as they continue on this fantastic trajectory of growth into 2021 and beyond”.

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