Speculation Arises Around Wiggle Buyout By German Retail Giant Signa Sports

May 11, 2021 at 7:47
by James Smurthwaite  

Bloomberg has reported that German online retail giant Signa Sports could be considering purchasing Wiggle as part of a larger merger deal with American billionaire Ron Burkle's Yucaipa Acquisition Corp.

Signa Sports operates in a number of sports retail markets and its portfolio includes three cycling-specific websites - ProBikeShop, Bikester and Fahrradd.de. In total, the company operates 80 websites in 17 countries and recorded more than $1 billion of gross merchandise volume from its 4 million active customers last year, according to a recent press release. If true, the information, which came from unnamed sources, would take Signa Sports public and create a combined entity worth $4 billion.

Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles were two UK-based online cycling retailers that merged in 2016. Then, in 2017, it strengthened its position within the German market by buying Bike 24. The business reported a particularly successful 2020 in which its bike sales doubled and its ebike sales grew by more than 350%.

It's unclear exactly what the deal would mean for Wiggle if it were true and representatives from Wiggle and its private equity owner, Bridgepoint, declined the opportunity to comment on the Bloomberg article. However, it's indicative of a trend of cycling brands being bought out as the industry continues to flourish. Other recent examples include Groupe Bruxelles Lambert taking a majority share in Canyon and Whyte Bikes securing investment from Cairngorm Capital.

A recent report from Cycling Industry News noted that not only is the cycling industry currently profitable for investors, due to increases in active lifestyles during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also offers future opportunities around the environment, micromobility and technological integration. The industry has also proven to be resilient in economic downturns, further increasing its value to investors.

We will follow this story as it moves forward and update you if any more information arises.


67 Comments

  • 62 2
 Wiggle/CRC being out of Bridgepoint's hands would only be a good thing. Or more accurately, new ownership can't possibly do any worse, even if they closed the whoe thing down.
  • 7 0
 100%
  • 8 0
 Why is that? Not too familiar with those retailers...
  • 34 0
 If they decided to spin CRC back out that would be great. They've been shite since the merger.
  • 78 0
 @greenpistol: As a customer right now, terrible availability (even pre-Covid), passive aggressive customer service, average prices. As a long, long time customer of CRC, Bridgepoint got ownership of CRC, then fired it's warehouse staff, then fired it's wheelbuilders, then fired the accounting staff, then steadily downsized everything else and moved it all into Wiggle's existing (very bad) logistics. CRC used to be one of the gold standards for customer service in the UK, now they are not. I used to buy stuff from CRC every few months (tyres, chains, brake pads etc) but haven't bought a single thing from them since early 2017. When it comes to buying consumable parts they aren't even on my radar anymore, which is very sad.
  • 24 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: pretty much the same here.

Their loss is my local bike shops gain.
  • 5 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: What's your favourite UK online bike shop now? Asking for a friend.
  • 8 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: Same here. I used to be a regular/loyal customer until they became the cycling equivalent of Currys (UK electrical company). Now I use them as a way of checking out items then find somewhere else to buy them.
  • 14 0
 @dude-brah: Bike Discount is best in Europe (in my opinion), with Bike 24 being solid now that they bought back out of the Wiggle group, and Jenson USA being decent for north america. I've bought a lot of stuff in Canada from Bike24.
  • 7 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: 100% same story here. It was mind blowing to get parts from UK to Canada in about 7 days.
  • 4 0
 @dude-brah: I use Leisure Lakes Bikes for online orders mostly these days, again having been a long time CRC user.
  • 5 0
 Is Wiggle/CRC even a relevant thing anymore? Not even worth looking on their site now. Wiggle was always crap and a fairly consistent place to get card fraud. Then they killed off CRC. Normally cheaper (and in stock) elsewhere.
Brexit killed off the ability to use some Euro shops like Bikediscount and Bike24 but UK shops like Biketart and a lot of the smaller online ones are competitive now. Begrudgingly I just bought something from Go Outdoor as it was cheaper.
  • 21 0
 @dude-brah: Merlin Cycles are hard to beat for the price/customer service sweet spot.
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: Average prices? They rip the entire europe with their double VATted prices
  • 3 0
 @dude-brah: I'm very spoiled to live within a mile of a really good bike shop (Stif), so I've just been buying less online lately.
  • 3 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: same here they went downhill fast I got so much from them all really good deal now not so much.
  • 4 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: Same here, use to spend a fortune with them, the service dropped so rather spend money elsewhere. Luckily leisure lakes is one of my LBS as well as a few other really good shops. Don't really get much online anymore.
  • 7 0
 I still like dhb kit. Cheap. Works better than castellis or some other hyped shit
  • 7 0
 @ilovedust: CRC is redundant. It's Wiggle with a different veneer - same products from the same stock for the same price. The moment Wiggle/Bridgepoint took over it lost all relevance. CRC was often the first name cited whenever people would bemoan the demise of the LBS, but honestly, I always thought of CRC as one huge great behemoth of an LBS. Yeah, they were this massive machine of a company but you could still reach out and actually talk to someone if you had an issue. I bought an Abra Cadabra through them in 2012 and managed to snap the chainstay. Kona refused to honour the warranty, so CRC sourced a replacement off their own back. They didn't have to do that, but that's the kind of people they were to deal with. Now they're soulless.
Now that the Euro shops are out of the equation (for UK riders) it's Merlin, Winstanley and JE James for most stuff. Between them there's usually a good chance of some sort of discount to be had.
  • 1 0
 Has anyone used Freewheel? It is meant to be an online store backed by local bike shops.
  • 3 0
 Agree CRC have gone down hill fast.
  • 4 0
 @ratedgg13: agree, bike24 is on another level recently. Almost all the items have measured weight and accurate model year or version (very important for fresh rubber).
Top notch customer service as well.
  • 2 0
 @lewiscraik:

Yeah, Freewheel is basically the Halfords/Screwfix click&collect / mailorder model but done through the LBS's instead of one massive chain.

You nominate a LBS and they get a cut even if you have it delivered directly to your house, which means you can go to them if you have an issue.
  • 1 0
 @Fix-the-Spade: yep I had a really bad experience with CRC a year and a half back. Hub was misdescribed on their site and rims arrived days apart instead of packaged in the same parcel. Customer support was initially belligerent before giving in...
  • 9 0
 CRC was the only bike shop to avoid the supply chain issues that have hit the industry; they didn't have anything decent in stock since way before all this happened.
  • 3 0
 Thank god this might come true. I stopped shopping at CRC and started shopping with other online retailers in the likes of ciclimattio and bike-components.de since they have competitive pricing and better delivery options. My hope is still for these companies to stop limited distribution of certain brands to different parts of the world based on retail contracts. As a consumer, it sucks when my options are limited based on my geographical location and prices are double and sometimes triple of what they should be.
  • 1 2
 @CSharp: if you are talking about not sending shimano parts it's what shimano wants, nothing to do with shops
  • 2 0
 @Noeserd: Yes and no. It's a contract agreement with the manufacturing brands. It's not just with Shimano. Some manufacturers don't have any restrictions (eg: DT Swiss). Some stores in the UK (if I'm not mistaken) may still ship out Shimano parts but you'd be hard press to get any that do ship out Shimano or SRAM parts. The latter and many of the US manufacturers started this trend years ago. I think if the retailer is big enough, hopefully they can change the contract agreement and open up the markets again.
  • 23 0
 CRC went down the shitter hard after being bought out. I was ordering stuff from there regularly (6 or 7 times a year) and it's probably been 5 years since I ordered anything. Terrible selection, shipping got screwy, and prices became very "meh"... currently Jenson is my go to.
  • 1 0
 Heh, same experience with CRC. However, I wouldn't touch Jenson either since they're collecting 10-12% GST for Albertans. I asked them why when Alberta has a 5% GST with no other taxes. Their answer was that their system charges provincial tax and GST for Canadian citizens and their system can't give Alberta a 0% tax rate on top of the GST. So, for different provinces, their system will charge the appropriate HST (GST + Provincial Tax) except for Alberta where they charge an extra 5-7% out of mid air.
  • 1 0
 @CSharp: That's pretty shitty and probably illegal. I'm sure they could find a workaround for that (like just discount the order appropriately) if there was any will to do it.
  • 1 0
 @gtrguy: I asked - nope. Frown
  • 22 1
 Wiggle that made millions a week profit durning covid lockdown, working flat out all 2020 just to made redundant by them and lost job mid December, not just me but 53 others. Fuxk wiggle
  • 5 0
 Total bastards
  • 19 0
 Once upon a time, CRC were a Northern Irish success story. Now it's basically wiggle with a different name. Very sad how quickly the owners destroyed such an amazing Ulster. business.
  • 12 0
 "Then, in 2017, it strengthened its position within the German market by buying Bike 24."

And sold it back to The Riverside (previous owners) in 2019.

cyclingindustry.news/wigglecrc-sells-bike24-back-to-the-riverside-company
  • 5 0
 Thank goodness. Leaves a few at least decent options out there.
  • 5 0
 C'mon you don't expect a journalist (or maybe they are just content fillers?) to fact check everything do you?
  • 4 0
 Bike 24 is currently my go to online retailer. Prices are good and customer service is great. Glad to hear they are not owned by Wiggle anymore. Still, reading all this news about investers being interested in cycling makes me fear for the worst. It is a bit like what happened to the surf industry a couple of years ago. Surfing used to be cool, but now it is just over. Crowded spots everywhere all the time, surfcamps on every beach, market flooded with cheap boards .. everybody seems to be a surfer these days. Brands like Billabong, Quiksilver, Chanel Islands, ..Lost and Hurley lost all credibility. It is really sad. In a way it is a good thing that nothing is available at the moment. We just have to sit it out .. hopefully the kooks will move on and get back to their gyms and soccer by the time things are 'back to normal' again. Then we can buy their hardly used bikes and parts secondhand and get on with our lives
  • 12 0
 I used to buy from CRC and Wiggle a lot, but I actually can't remember the last purchase I made from either. Their prices became the same - or even worse, as what I can get here in the USA, so I have become a Worldwide Cyclery fanboy the last few years.
  • 8 0
 Yes, Wiggle buying CRC was great for Australian bike part sellers down here. CRC lost that riders vibe pretty quick, an Wiggle never had it.
  • 5 1
 Wiggle group own Hotlines , CRC , bike24 , Nukeproof, vitus , brand-x and others , this move could explain the incredibly
bad customer service from hotlines/Nukeproof on a warranty frame issue , I would never buy anything Nukeproof ever again....
  • 2 0
 They sold bike 24 off around October 2020
  • 4 0
 AFAIK Signa is Austrian, not German.
The owners of Signa are famous for closing down many german department stores (Karstadt, Kaufhof).

www.signa.at/en/retail-2/sports-group
  • 1 0
 Yup, it's an Austrian company. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signa_Holding
  • 4 0
 No, Signa Sports is a german company based in Berlin, but the parent company Signa Holding is austrian.
signa-sportsunited.com/imprint
  • 4 0
 If this means that Chain Reaction dumps SkyNet as their courier in Canada, I will be very happy. SkyNet Worldwide is the worst parcel courier company in the world.
  • 4 0
 Hermes: "Hold my beer..."
  • 2 0
 @Gazzamatazzzz: i see your Hermes and raise you Yodel.....
  • 2 0
 As a current employee, we keep getting told this acquisition is BS and there are "no plans" to sell. Seems a bit odd this keeps popping up 6 weeks after the original story. Hopefully it happens and management get a complete refresh, people are too cushy in their current positions and things have gone downhill rapid in the past 2 yes.
  • 1 0
 As an ex-employee we were told the same thing before the wiggle take-over, it wasn't happening all media speculation. We then had a knob from wiggle come over and tell us all jobs would be safe, that was before another knob from wiggle told us sorry, but 90% of you are surplus to requirements.
  • 2 0
 You guys complain way too much about cheap bike parts. If they have what you need, buy it. These places don't care about your experience and honestly why should they? Most things are half the price of a shop so I wouldn't expect them to hold your hand.
  • 2 0
 I didn't know they owned bike24. That was my go-to shop before Brexit, now they don't deliver to the UK..shame wiggle/CRC can't offer bike24 range and prices in the UK, considering they own them. What a mess.
  • 1 0
 It pisses me right off this, I have lots of gift vouchers I received from family for Xmas and birthday for bike24. I have emailed them many times and they never answer my questions. They haven’t even answered my latest email, and won’t refund the vouchers. Bastards.
  • 1 0
 @gasmunky: Ive since discovered this article is inaccurate. Bike24 are no longer part of wiggle/crc. You are probably best off trying to sell the vouchers on german ebay or similar.
  • 4 0
 Maybe someone should start a new CRC
  • 2 0
 "increases in active lifestyles during the COVID-19 pandemic" sounds weird, don't know why
  • 2 0
 Wiggle and CRC just need to get a large Mega 290 frame in stock... Thats ALL I care about hearing about them lol.
  • 2 0
 Support your local bike by getting them to order what you need if they don’t stock it
  • 3 0
 Vitus
  • 2 0
 Is this a commercial?
  • 1 0
 And probikeshop is one or the largest online store in France.
  • 1 0
 Giant Conglomeration. So we can all not get parts from the same source.
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