Millionaire British Plumbing Kingpin Seeks Buyer for Pimlico

Charlie Mullins, the flamboyant British businessman who started Pimlico Plumbers in 1979 with a second-hand van and built it into one of London’s most-recognizable firms, wants to sell out.

The 68-year-old, known for his mullet hairstyle, became the richest plumber in the U.K. while courting controversy with his outspoken comments on everything from taxes to Brexit. Mullins, who was awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to the industry, is now seeking a buyer for Pimlico, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Millionaire British Plumbing Kingpin Seeks Buyer for Pimlico

The millionaire has been in the headlines in recent months after he labeled those working from home as “selfish” and required employees to get Covid vaccines before coming back on the job. His home in Essex, a county adjoining London, is up for sale for more than 4 million pounds.

Mullins has hired Cavendish Corporate Finance LLP to advise on the potential sale of Pimlico Group, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. A deal could value the business at about 100 million pounds ($142 million), the people said.

Pimlico’s blue and white vans are a common sight across the U.K. capital, drawing attention with custom license plates like “B1DET” or “FLU55H.” The company has counted celebrities such as Daniel Craig, star of the “James Bond” film franchise, and actress Helen Mirren among its customers. In recent years, Pimlico has expanded beyond plumbing into services including air-conditioning repair, carpentry and roofing.

“We are always looking out for investment,” Mullins said in a statement. “We are a growing company and want to expand both within London and further afield.”

Non-binding offers were due last week for Pimlico, which has attracted interest from private equity firms and strategic suitors, the people said. An official at Cavendish couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Mullins was one of the businessmen that vocally campaigned against Britain’s departure from the European Union, putting up a sign on Pimlico’s headquarters using colorful language to oppose the plan. He was also at the center of a landmark employment lawsuit in 2018, when the U.K.’s top judges ruled that Pimlico should have treated one of its tradesmen as a “worker” in a case with ramifications for gig-economy companies like Uber Technologies Inc.

Earlier this year, Pimlico forecast it would achieve record sales of about 48 million pounds in the 12 months through May. Charlie’s son Scott, the current chief executive officer, plans to keep a stake in the firm after any sale, the people said.

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