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3i to make 1.9x its money with John Hardy sale

3i Group has found a buyer for John Hardy, the luxury designer jewelry brand.

Catterton Partners, the consumer focused PE firm, said Thursday it was buying John Hardy. Financial terms weren’t announced. Catterton is buying a “significant majority” of John Hardy, a source said.

3i, which invested $30 million in the company in October 2007, said it is making 1.9x its money with the sale to Catterton.

The sale includes 3i’s 22.4 percent stake in John Hardy, a separate statement from the U.K. private equity firm said. Total proceeds, including dividend repayments and the sale of preferred shares and the 22.4 percent holding, are around 26 million pounds ($44 million). Another roughly 2 million pounds is expected from deferred consideration, 3i said.

CEO Damien Dernoncourt, through a holding that includes Guy Bedarida, the company’s creative director, and other investors, owns 73 percent and controls John Hardy, Reuters reported in November. It is unclear if the 73 percent is part of Catterton’s acquisition. Executives at 3i declined to comment.

With the sale, Dernoncourt is exiting as Hardy’s CEO and will be replaced by Robert Hanson, the former CEO of American Eagle Outfitters. Dernoncourt, who was named Hardy’s non-executive chairman, will retain an equity stake in the company.

Hong Kong-based John Hardy, which makes high-end designer jewelry such as a $2,100 dragon head bracelet, was put up for sale late last year, Reuters reported. Rothschild handled the process. The auction drew the interest of TSG Consumer Partners and TA Associates, Reuters said. Hardy produced $13 million EBITDA on $75 million in sales, the story said.

Catterton, of Greenwich, Connecticut, has made several investments in the luxury space. Deals include Baccarat, Frederic Fekkai and Restoration Hardware. Last year, Catterton closed its seventh buyout fund at $1.68 billion, while its second growth pool collected $400 million. Performance data was unavailable for either fund.

Photo courtesy of John Hardy