Betterware founder set to net pounds 40m in mail order sale

Andrew Cohen, the Betterware founder, and his family will net more than pounds 40m from the sale of his mail order company to the group's management. The agreed pounds 117m deal closes the book on Betterware's colourful 13 years as a public company. But as our City Correspondent, Nigel Cope reports, even the final chapter is not without controversy.

Andrew Cohen said he would be sorry to part company with the business he bought for pounds 253,000 from the receivers in 1983 but that it was time to move on. "It is a good price. Also my parents [who own half of the family stake] are in their 70s."

Mr Cohen said he planned to devote more time to his property business which specialises in commercial property in the Midlands and South-east. He said he may bring the business, Andrew Linton Holdings (Linton is his middle name) to the stock market in the next few years.

A keen racehorse owner, he said he was more interested in selling some of his stable than buying more. "But I'm particularly interested in how Suny Bay will get on at Kempton Park on Boxing Day," he said. The horse is second favourite.

The offer by the group's managing director Peter Hartley and finance director Paul Turner is 110p per share in cash valuing Betterware at pounds 117m. The bid is financed by NatWest Equity Partners who said it was backing the management with a 3-5 year view, after which a flotation or trade sale would be considered.

Mr Cohen and his family currently control 47 per cent of Betterware. Under the terms of the deal, they will retain a 22 per cent stake in the new management company, Fenchurch Place but will have no management input. Fenchurch Place will be run by Peter Hartley, Betterware's managing director and Paul Turner finance director.

Mr Cohen denied that the deal could disadvantage smaller shareholders or that Betterware had been a disappointment on the stock market. City critics have said that the executive directors bidding for the company have had a conflict of interest. But Mr Cohen claims, "Small investors knew that the family had a big stake when they bought in. And I think it has been a very good performing stock."

After going public in 1986, Betterware became one of the best-performing shares on the market in the early 1990s when its shares rocketed from around 20p to more than 250p. The company specialised in household products such as tea strainers and loofahs sold from mini-catalogues door-to-door. However, Mr Cohen attracted criticism when he sold pounds 30m of shares in 1993 shortly before the company hit trading problems.

In 1994 it issued three profits warnings in five months and the shares crashed. It now has plans to expand into Eastern Europe.

Yesterday the shares closed 10.5p higher at 107.5p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all