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3i completes £20m investment in Interflora Bernard Norman as Chairman

Following overwhelming support in a vote from the membership, Interflora has today completed its incorporation and 3i has invested £20m for a majority stake in the business. In addition, the respected retail figure Bernard Norman has been appointed as Chairman.

Bernard has extensive retail experience gained during his time at Littlewoods and Thomas Cook, where he held the positions of Group Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman.  3i has successfully worked with Bernard on a number of other deals in the retail industry where he achieved significant sales and profit growth.  These companies included Canvas Holidays, the UK''s third largest camping tour operator, Ben Sherman, the designer and marketer of branded sportswear, accessories and footwear, and Morris Homes, one of the UK''s largest privately owned house builders.

Richard Bishop, 3i director, said: "I am delighted that following such a strong vote to bring 3i on board as the partner for Interflora, we have completed our investment.  Going forward, this will be a powerful combination of an ambitious management team, an experienced new Chairman in Bernard Norman and 3i''s experience in backing top brands."

Steve Richards, chief executive of Interflora, commented: "The change of corporate structure is now complete and we can now direct all our energy towards growing the business and moving forward.  Interflora is a tremendous brand and Interflora florists are extremely talented.  With our new partner 3i we can now invest in and grow our business together and let that talent flourish."    

Bernard Norman, Chairman of Interflora, commented: "I am delighted to be joining Interflora at this time.  The Interflora brand is extremely strong and I look forward to working with management and members to ensure that it realises its full potential."

In what has been a complicated process, 3i was advised by the Birmingham teams of Deloitte and Wragge & Co.

Matt Upton, Corporate Finance director at Deloitte in Birmingham comments: "This deal represents a fantastic opportunity for Interflora and its members to maximise the benefit of such a strong international brand in an exciting yet evolving market place.  It is also a great opportunity for local dealmakers to demonstrate the strength and depth of expertise to a national audience."

Wragge & Co corporate partner, Ian Metcalfe, said: "This was a significant, high profile transaction with all the challenges such deals bring.  Everyone put in a fantastic effort, showing the class and calibre of this largely Birmingham-based team of advisers." 

Notes to editors

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. It focuses on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invests across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific.  Its competitive advantage comes from its international network and the strength and breadth of its relationships in business. These underpin the value that it delivers to its portfolio and to our shareholders.

In the 6 months to 30 September 2004, 3i invested £521 million, including co-investment funds. 3i''s buyout business concentrates on the mid and smaller buyout markets in Europe and Asia Pacific and invested £305m in the 6 months to 30 September 2004.  Its growth capital business invested £142 million in the 6 months to 30 September 2004 in high growth companies expanding organically or through acquisition. 3i''s venture capital business invested £74m in the 6 months to 30 September 2004 in early stage technology companies.

Other recent 3i retail experience includes: Ben Sherman exit, UK, men''s fashion; GANT investment, Sweden, men''s fashion; Pets at Home exit, UK, pets and pet supplies; Halti investment, Finland, sports apparel; Early Learning Centre  exit, UK, educational toys; Teknikmagasinet investment, Sweden, home electronics and hobby products.

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