Northampton’s Panther Logistics acquired by US buyer

Mid-market private equity firm LDC has announced the successful exit of Panther Logistics to US-based AIT Worldwide Logistics (AIT). Financial details are undisclosed.

Northampton-based Panther Logistics is the UK’s largest independent two-man home delivery firm. Specialising in the retail and ecommerce sectors, its customers include Wayfair, Silentnight, Dunelm, Maze, Decathlon and Habitat.

LDC’s Midlands team originally invested in 2016 as part of a £17m management buyout, backing Chief Executive Colin McCarthy and his leadership team. The investment enabled the business to expand rapidly over the next four years with new services, locations and customers, whilst investing significantly in its technology platform, workforce and operations. LDC also helped strengthen the firm’s board and management team with the appointments of retail veteran Greg Ball as a non-executive chairman as well as Tony Nicholas as CFO and Gary McKelvey as COO.

During this time, the business created over 300 new jobs, doubled sales to more than £60m and tripled profits.

Chicago-based AIT is a global transportation management leader, operating from more than 75 locations in Asia, Europe and North America. AIT delivers tailored supply chain solutions for sea, air and ground freight with expertise in almost every industry sector. AIT’s financial partner is Quad-C Management, Inc., a leading middle-market private equity firm in the U.S.

The acquisition of Panther will enable AIT to expand its presence in the UK, with Panther’s current management team remaining in the enlarged group to support its continued development.

Colin McCarthy of Panther Logistics said: “The transaction is a ‘best of both worlds’ outcome for the business, our customers and our people. We can retain our own identity and operating structure while benefitting from strong financial support and a broader offering for our customers as part of a global logistics player like AIT. We see enormous possibilities together especially with the acceleration in online retail, the growing importance of home delivery capabilities, and the increasingly complex and often global supply chain that sits behind the “final mile” operation for many our customers.”