Micksgarage founders complete partial MBO, almost doubling stake

Ulster Bank backs buyout of some private investors

Mick and Ciarán Crean, the twins who run online retailer Micksgarage, have completed a partial management buyout to almost double their stake in the business to 75 per cent.

Ulster Bank has provided funding to the Mayo-born duo to buy several blue-chip shareholders out of the business, which is ostensibly focused on selling car parts and accessories but which has branched into outdoors and lifestyle products in recent years.

The opportunity to do the transaction arose after financial institution Investec, from which the brothers had raised €1.5 million in 2016, told them last August that it planned to sell its stake. The Creans engaged corporate financier Conor Sheehan of CKS Finance to help them look at finance options and decided to buy it themselves.

The Creans were obliged under the terms of a shareholders' agreement to make any offer available to all investors. In addition to Investec, AIB Seed Capital Fund also chose to exit, along with several private shareholders. Most of these were small investors, but the coterie exiting the business also includes Paddy Power co-founder, Stuart Kenny, who has backed Micksgarage for well over a decade.


In total, the transaction will take out about 40 per cent of the shareholder base. Those investors staying on include including Breon Corcoran, the former chief executive of Paddy Power Betfair, former building supplies magnate Michael Chadwick, Cairn Homes chief executive Michael Stanley, Bank of Ireland chairman Patrick Kennedy, and the bank's head of media relations, Mark Leech.

The business was founded in 2004 in Mick Crean’s bedroom. The brothers first took on outside funding in 2008, when Anglo provided debt finance. Several high-profile corporate investors climbed aboard in subsequent fund raisings, including Mr Kenny, who was seen as a mentor to the business.

Outdoor goods

Micksgarage traditionally has focused on selling car parts and accessories, such as batteries and roof racks. In recent years, however, the retailer has also moved into outdoor and leisure goods, such as paddle boards and other sports goods. It is understood that about 50 per cent of the business now is attributed to sales of general outdoors and leisure goods.

In 2019, the Crean brothers set a target of doubling the business’s sales by 2023 to between €25 million and €30 million. It is on target to achieve that, it is understood, boosted by a sales spike from the pandemic as online shopping took off. The Government’s call for an “outdoors summer” of domestic tourism has also driven business. It made a profit of €425,000 in 2019, according to its most recent set of accounts.

Ciarán Crean said the duo are “delighted to have Ulster Bank on board”.

"All of our investors were good to us. Stuart Kenny has been a mentor since about 2005 or 2006. It is understandable he wants to make an exit and he has made an immense contribution," said Mr Crean, who is the chief executive. Mick Crean oversees the technical development of the business.

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times