This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Boutique cycling clothier Rapha has a new majority shareholder with ties to Walmart.
As first reported by Sky News, RZC Investments has acquired a majority stake in Rapha in a deal worth £200 million pounds / $260 million dollars. The U.S.-based investment firm is lead by Tom and Stuart Walton, two of the billionaire grandsons of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. Rapha and RZC confirmed the news in a release.
"This is an exciting day for Rapha. It heralds the start of the next stage of our journey and is testament to the growth and potential that people see in Rapha and in cycling," Rapha founder and chief executive Simon Mottram said. "The arrival of RZC Investments as a shareholder means we can pursue our mission to elevate cycling as a global sport and recruit more participants by engaging them and enabling them to ride with us at all levels. Support from RZC Investments will allow us to further expand our active global community of cyclists, develop even better and more innovative products and services to enhance cyclists' lives and inspire many more people to take up the World's greatest sport."
Does this mean we can expect to see Rapha's high-end kits for sale at the world's largest retailer?
"Rapha represents the very best in the world of cycling," Steuart Walton, co-founder of RZC Investments explained. "Our investment demonstrates our enthusiasm for its quality products, amazing community of cyclists and customers and its strong future. Rapha's strategic vision has set the company on a path of tremendous growth and opportunity. We're excited to be part of this next chapter by bringing the best sport in the world to more people in more ways and places."
If the Walton's history of investment in cycling is any indication of their plans, the answer is a resounding no.
RZC and Walmart are distinct entities with very different business interests.
In addition to the acquisition of Rapha, RZC also invests in Allied Cycle Works, the Little Rock, Arkansas-based bicycle company dedicated to bringing carbon manufacturing to the United States.
Tom Walton, along with the Walton Family Foundation, has been instrumental in developing sustainable mountain bike trail networks throughout Northwest Arkansas.