PHD Equity Partners shows the art of the deal with £4m investment

A supplier of arts materials which runs a well-known membership club for artists has received a £4m investment from PHD Equity Partners and Praetura Commercial Finance to fund its expansion.

Teaching Art Limited supplies an extensive range of paints, inks and other products from its premises in Newark and Manchester. However, it is best known as the company behind the SAA, formerly the Society of All Artists, which with over 43,000 members is believed to be the world’s largest art community.

Established 25 years ago, the SAA runs its own exhibitions, awards and events. Members range from amateurs and art clubs to professionals and art teachers, and receive a whole range of benefits including the magazine ‘Paint’.

Teaching Art also sells art and craft materials to the public through its Artifolk and SAA websites and supplies leading retailers including Hobbycraft and Ryman via its trade company Artcoe. It is one of a limited number of UK businesses to be accepted as an Amazon Prime supplier. The company has its own TV studio in Newark where it produces material for its digital channels, and ‘live’ streaming.

Teaching Art was set up in 1986 by John Hope-Hawkins and the SAA was launched in 1992. The company now employs over 60 staff and is run by the founder’s son Richard Hope-Hawkins,  Managing Director, and Jean Ellison, Finance Director, who will be staying on to help PHD implement its growth strategy for Teaching Art.

PHD Equity Partners is the private equity arm of Dow Schofield Watts. This latest investment follows its recent investment in Olympic Fixings and its successful exit from Barber of Sheffield, Europe’s leading tattoo ink supplier. It spent four years scaling up the Barber business before selling it for a significant return in 2016.

Andy Dodd and Craig Richardson led the deal for PHD Equity Partners. Andy Dodd said: “Arts and crafts is a fast-growing market, driven in part by the general increase in leisure time for everyone, but particularly the “empty-nesters” and the newly retired. Teaching Art is well established business with an enthusiastic and loyal customer base and a highly  efficient distribution network.

Craig Richardson added: “We see huge potential to increase engagement with SAA members, develop new products and services and expand sales in Europe and beyond. We look forward to working with the management team as the company enters this exciting new stage in its growth.”

Rob McCarthy of Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services carried out financial due diligence and Keith Miller and Nick Woodward at Dow Schofield Watts VAT and Tax Services provided tax advice to PHD Equity Partners. Ian Riggs and Sean Lightfoot from the corporate team at Hill Dickinson provided legal advice to PHD while the banking team at Bermans advised Praetura Commercial Finance. Vista provided insurance due diligence and Sanderson Weatherall carried out stock and AR valuation.