OKA gets private equity backing


Continuing the trend of multichannel retailers attracting private
equity funding, FF&P Private Equity has become the majority
stakeholder in home decor marketer Oka. Founded in 1999 by
Annabel Astor, Sue Jones and Lucinda Waterhouse, Oka has over
60,000 consumer customers and 1,900 trade buyers and runs nine
showrooms as well as a mail order catalogue and website. Turnover
in the year to December 2006 exceeded £10.5 million. During
the year Oka acquired high-end fragrance maker Cath Collins,
which has now been integrated into Oka’s product range.

“We had identified the Oka retail model – of multichannel
distribution and a strong brand – as one which offered the
opportunity for a financial investor to work with a proven team
and product offering to build a business of significant
value”, said David Barbour of FF&P, adding that he was
looking forward to working with the Oka team achieve the next
stage of growth. Graham Frost, who has worked at Grattan, GUS,
Argos and Monsoon, joins the Oka board as nonexecutive chairman.

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