Sofas entrepreneur set for a comfortable £20m

James Thompson@Thompj
Monday 27 May 2013 00:43

A Midlands entrepreneur could be in line for a £20m-plus windfall after putting his 104-year-old sofa business up for sale.

Charles Wade – who, with his family, owns furniture chain Multiyork and bed retailer Feather & Black – has teamed up with advisers at Catalyst Corporate Finance to sell the sofa maker Buoyant Upholstery for up to £25m.

His Wade Furniture Group acquired Buoyant in 1999. The sofa firm has two factories in Lancashire that deliver to a wide range of retailers in the UK and Ireland.

One of the wealthiest men in the Midlands, Mr Wade hopes to conclude a sale of the firm – of which he is also chairman – over the summer. He and his family are worth about £32m, according to the latest available estimate. Their main holding company, Wade Group, posted turnover of £48m in 2011. All parties declined to comment.

Buoyant grew its pre-tax profit by 40 per cent to £2.63m over the year to 30 September, on increased revenue of £35.8m. It was founded in 1909 by Ebenezer Savidge, and went on to make 1,250 chairs and upholstery pieces for the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary in 1936.

Mr Savidge died in 1934 when his son, Kenneth, was too young to join Buoyant but his name lived on in the logo – its early advertisements featured the line: "Kenneth, get out of your seat and let your father sit down".

Between the 1930s and 1950s, Kenneth regularly appeared in adverts extolling the virtues of Buoyant upholstery.

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