GCA Altium brokers £10m BGF funding for online grocer

Darren Beale

A founder and entrepreneur of online grocery business Muscle Food has secured £10m of funding from BGF, in a deal led by the Manchester office of global investment bank GCA Altium.

Founded in 2013 by Darren Beale, Muscle Food is disrupting the grocery market with an online platform for the retail and delivery of healthy foods.

Muscle Food generated revenues of more than £45m in the year to 31 March 2017 and offers a range of products including fresh meat, snacks, ready meals and supplements.

Following the investment from BGF, the company will develop its UK leading online platform and expand into European markets such as Germany and the Netherlands.

Located in West Bromwich, Muscle Food operates from a 32,000sq ft distribution centre creating market leading products.

This includes its Protein Pizza, the UK’s fifth largest pizza brand, which is currently on sale in Sainsbury’s and will be launching in Morrisons this month.

A team at GCA Altium, led by Simon Lord and Andy Battersby, advised the founders of Muscle Food on the transaction. This marks the firm’s 12th deal in the consumer space in the last 12 months and follows the high profile £171m IPO of sports retailer Footasylum.

Lord said: “Muscle Food has grown rapidly since inception to become an extremely profitable and highly cash generative business. It operates in a sector that has raised vast sums in the UK and US and it has been a real pleasure advising the founders on its first external equity investment by BGF.”

Darren Beale, chief executive at Muscle Food: “The Muscle Food team care passionately about making it easier for our tribe of customers to achieve their fitness and health goals – this mission has been critical in driving the expansion of the company.

“The partnership with BGF will help us accelerate our growth and switch even more customers on to our unique proposition.”

Greg Norman, BGF said: “The Muscle Food team are talented, focused and passionate. They have successfully managed the high-growth experience in the last three years and are ambitious about accelerating the expansion. We are pleased to be supporting the group as it continues to scale.”

Richard Harding and Steven Kingham from EY Manchester provided vendor due diligence to the company shareholders on the transaction. Kieran Toal, James Skivington and Anna Mee from Pinsent Masons provided legal advice to the company while Tim Fearn provided banking legal advice.