The move by Accell, which already owns a number of well known brands such as Lapierre and Ghost, strengthens their position as one of the largest companies in the bike market. The deal should go through by the end of May but is subject to approval from competition authorities. Raleigh’s management team intends to stay on once it's completed, with CEO Alan Finden-Crofts committing himself for at least another six months.
Raleigh, best known for its 1970 Chopper bike, celebrates its 125 year anniversary this year. It started out in Nottingham in 1887 but hasn’t manufactured a bike in the UK since 1999, and moved bike assembly to the Far East in 2003. Despite a decline since its mid-20th century heyday, it still employs 430 people worldwide and sold over 850,000 bikes last year. In 2010, it re-entered the world of pro cycling with the Continental level Team Raleigh-GAC squad.
Finden-Crofts, who is one of the company's largest shareholders after leading a management buy-out in 2001, said: "In Raleigh, Accell Group is acquiring a true global brand with 125 years of heritage and distribution into over 140 countries worldwide and I am entirely confident that Raleigh has found the ideal buyer to support the employees, customers, suppliers and the future growth of the business.”
Accell CEO René Takens called the acquisition "another milestone for our company" and that they had "great confidence in Raleigh’s management team and will fully support future growth of Raleigh within our group".
Cycling Plus magazine is running a feature on the 125-year history of Raleigh in their latest issue (262), on sale from Tuesday 1 May.