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Leading mid-market private equity firm LDC has backed the £17million management buyout of Panther Logistics, the UK’s largest independent 2-man next day home delivery provider.

Panther, which is headquartered in Northampton, specialises in two-man and one-man assisted delivery services for major brands and retailers, including Dunelm, Silent Night and Bosch Siemens Group.

It provides customers with next day deliveries and UK-wide coverage via a network of eight strategically located regional hubs* and employs 300 people, expanding to over 800 with additional temporary staff during peak periods. Its fleet comprises 300 fully-liveried vehicles, whilst its proprietary IT platform offers market-leading track and trace capabilities to its end customers.

Panther has more than doubled sales in the last two years to almost £30m, thanks to the continued growth of online shopping and its reputation for customer focus and service excellence. It was recently ranked amongst the UK’s fastest growing 100 firms**.

The buyout was led by the business’ Managing Director Colin McCarthy, alongside seven other members of the management team. As part of the deal, LDC has acquired a significant minority shareholding in the firm, enabling its founder, Wilson Barrett, to retire.

The firm has also appointed Greg Ball as a Non-Executive Chairman. Ball’s retail career includes senior positions with Littlewoods and Home Retail Group, where he was a main board director with responsibility for its home delivery operations.

Following the investment, Panther plans to continue to invest in its operations and develop new service innovations to support its customers.

In 2015, LDC invested £350m of equity in 14 businesses and generated exit proceeds of more than £500m. Earlier this year, it backed the secondary buyout of CitySprint, the UK’s leading technology driven same day distribution company.

LDC, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group, has pledged to invest £1.2bn of equity into UK-based growth businesses over the next three years. Its 90-strong portfolio of companies includes online travel agent, lifestyle brand Joules and restaurant owner D&D London.