And The Winner Of Mid-Market Deal of The Year Is…Irving Place Capital, for Its Performance On Vitamin Shoppe

Irving Place Capital, formerly Bear Stearns Merchant Banking, has taken home Buyouts magazine’s “Deal of the Year” honors in the mid-market buyouts category.

Particularly impressing the editors judging the category was how rapidly Vitamin Shoppe grew under Irving Place’s ownership, and how its October 2009 IPO on the New York Stock Exchange was the first retail IPO in nearly two years. The deal also scored highest in our online voting open to peHUB visitors earlier this month.

Irving Place acquired vitamin and nutritional products retailer Vitamin Shoppe in 2002 for $305 million, investing a $121 million plug of equity. Under the ownership of Irving Place, the company secured a new management team, upgraded its board of directors, and diversified its product lines. It expanded from a primarily East Coast chain with 128 stores to a nationwide chain with more than 480 stores.

The firm maintained a majority stake in Vitamin Shoppe after its IPO, which saw the company price 9.1 million shares at $17 per share, the high end of the expected range. Irving Place realized $56 million in the IPO, and secondary offerings last year brought its total realized proceeds to $348 million. Based on its year-end share price of more than $33, Irving Place has scored a 3.6x of invested capital between realized and unrealized gains.

Look for Buyouts to announce winners in our other three “Deal of the Year” categories, Small Market Deal of the Year, Turnaround of the Year, and European Deal of the Year in coming weeks via Twitter. Follow us @Buyouts.

Winners of the four “Deal of the Year” awards will be honored at a lunch on April 26 at our Buyouts New York conference in New York City. There, we will also announce the winner of the “Deal of the Year,” whose nominees are the four individual category winners.

David M. Toll is editor-in-charge of Buyouts magazine and a contributor to peHUB. Follow his tweets @davidmtoll.