NEW YORK, May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- KPS Capital Partners, LP ("KPS") announced today that it signed a definitive agreement, through an affiliate, to sell its portfolio company, WWRD Holdings Limited ("WWRD" or the "Company"), to Fiskars Corporation ("Fiskars", FIS1V.HE) for $437 million in cash, subject to a post completion adjustment based upon the level of net working capital and cash and debt in the acquired business.
WWRD is a leading provider of luxury home and lifestyle products sold worldwide under the Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert and Rogaska brands. WWRD maintains unique licensing arrangements with some of the most high-profile designers and innovators in the home and lifestyle market, including Vera Wang, Jasper Conran, Monique Lhuillier, John Rocha, Gordon Ramsay, Donna Hay, Jo Sampson and Miranda Kerr. WWRD sells its branded products in over 80 countries around the world.
In 2009, KPS created a new company, WWRD, to acquire the Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Royal Albert brands and certain related assets out of the Administration and Receivership of Waterford Wedgwood plc and its subsidiaries. Under KPS' ownership, WWRD undertook a highly ambitious and successful turnaround on a global scale that resulted in a thriving and profitable company. KPS retained a new management team that implemented a new business strategy and results-driven corporate culture. Key elements of WWRD's transformation included creating a new centralized organization and management structure, repositioning the brands, introducing new products, entering into new product categories, launching a new hospitality business, and expanding into new geographies and sales channels. Central to the success of the turnaround was materially improving WWRD's operating cash cost structure, optimizing the global supply chain, and introducing world-class manufacturing practices and a culture of continuous improvement worldwide.
Michael Psaros, a Managing Partner of KPS, said, "We are very proud of WWRD's stunning turnaround, executed across four continents, at the height of the financial crisis in 2009. KPS did not buy or invest in a company at that time; rather we created a new company that acquired a collection of deeply under-managed brands and assets from a failed enterprise and transformed them into a thriving, profitable, and growing branded luxury goods company. In creating WWRD, KPS saved the iconic Wedgwood, Waterford, Royal Doulton and Royal Albert brands, preserving the heritage and legacy of institutions that are each hundreds of years old.
"We take great pride that WWRD, under KPS' ownership, constructed the House of Waterford Crystal in Waterford, Ireland, and is currently in the process of redeveloping the Wedgwood Estate in Barlaston, England. We made the decision and committed the capital to construct two new, world-class manufacturing facilities and related unique visitor experiences.
"The success of WWRD saved approximately 3,800 jobs and preserved an employer vital to all of its stakeholders worldwide. WWRD exemplifies the KPS investment strategy of seeing value where others do not, buying right and making businesses better.
"We thank and congratulate Pierre de Villemejane, WWRD's Chief Executive Officer, and our management team for their vision, their passion and their brilliant execution in an extremely ambitious undertaking.
"We are thrilled to sell WWRD to Fiskars, a company with its own 365-year history, which understands WWRD is not just a company or a group of iconic brands, but also possesses a unique legacy and a heritage. We wish Fiskars well in this endeavor," Mr. Psaros concluded.
Pierre de Villemejane, CEO of WWRD, added, "KPS was the only investor that had the courage and confidence to undertake the launch of a new company in the luxury industry, founded around a group of acquired brands and assets, at the height of the global financial crisis. While KPS recognized the heritage, the legacy and the potential of our iconic brands, the success of WWRD depended on our management team's ability to execute a highly complex turnaround throughout the world. Working in partnership with KPS, we improved the profitability of WWRD relative to its predecessor by over $150 million, repositioned and contemporized our storied brands, and invested significantly in our operations and associates. We are forever grateful to KPS for its leadership and its steadfast commitment to preserving, improving and growing our business. We are thrilled to join Fiskars, which has the resources and consumer market knowledge that will enable WWRD to scale the successful platform we created."
Completion of the transaction, which is expected to occur in summer 2015, is subject to customary closing conditions.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is serving as legal counsel to KPS, and Locke Lord LLP is serving as legal counsel to WWRD with respect to the transaction.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. is acting as financial advisor to WWRD with respect to the transaction.
WWRD is a leading provider of luxury home and lifestyle products worldwide. WWRD manufactures, distributes and sells well-recognized brands including Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert and Rogaska. WWRD maintains unique licensing arrangements with some of the most high-profile designers and innovators in the home and lifestyle market, including Vera Wang, Jasper Conran, Monique Lhuillier, John Rocha, Gordon Ramsay, Donna Hay, Jo Sampson and Miranda Kerr. WWRD products are distributed through premium department stores and independent retailers and wholesalers around the world. The company employs 3,800 people worldwide. WWRD is the proud holder of the Royal Warrants by Appointment for tableware and giftware to Her Majesty The Queen for Wedgwood, and to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Majesty The Queen for Royal Doulton.
For more information on the WWRD Portfolio, please visit www.wwrd.com.
KPS is the manager of the KPS Special Situations Funds, a family of investment funds with more than $5.7 billion of assets under management. KPS seeks to realize significant capital appreciation by making controlling equity investments in companies across a diverse range of manufacturing industries experiencing a period of transition or challenged by the need to effect immediate and significant change. The KPS investment strategy is based primarily upon partnering with world-class management teams to effect material and sustainable improvements in the operations of its businesses. Thereafter, KPS focuses on growing its businesses, both organically and through strategic acquisitions. KPS portfolio companies have aggregate annual revenues of approximately $6.4 billion, operate 106 manufacturing facilities in 26 countries, and employ more than 45,000 associates, directly and through joint ventures worldwide.
The KPS investment strategy and portfolio companies are described in detail at www.kpsfund.com.
Established in 1649 as an ironworks in a small Finnish village, Fiskars has grown to be a leading global supplier of consumer products for the home, garden and outdoors. Available in more than 60 countries, Fiskars products solve everyday problems, making daily home, garden and outdoor projects easier and more enjoyable through superior performance and design. Fiskars is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, and the company's net sales were 768 million euro in 2014. The company employs 4,200 people in 20 countries. Before the acquisition of WWRD, the Group's key international brands have been Fiskars, Iittala and Gerber. www.fiskarsgroup.com
Tel.: +44 20 3219 8801