Centre Partners Exits Kaz in $260M Deal

Publicly traded Helen of Troy Ltd has acquired health care and home environment company Kaz in a $260 million deal, providing an exit for buyout shop Centre Partners Management. Centre Partners made an undisclosed strategic investment in Kaz in 2002. Centre Partners Management has offices in New York and Los Angeles. Formed in 1926, Southborough, Mass.-based Kaz makes products including vaporizers, humidifiers and blood pressure monitors.

PRESS RELEASE
Centre Partners Management LLC (“Centre Partners”), a leading middle market private equity firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles, today announced the completion of the sale of Kaz, Inc. (“Kaz” or the “Company”) to Helen of Troy Limited (Nasdaq: HELE). Kaz is an international leader in health care and home environment consumer solutions. The transaction is valued at $260 million subject to certain closing working capital and other adjustments.

Centre Partners made a strategic investment in Kaz, a closely held family-owned business, in 2002. The firm partnered with Richard Katzman and the Katzman family to acquire Honeywell’s home environment appliance business, expand Kaz’s presence globally, and position the Company for a new phase of growth.

Established in 1926 by Max Katzman, the inventor of the electric vaporizer and grandfather of Richard Katzman, Kaz has an 84-year tradition of product design innovation, customer service excellence and category leadership. Under the leadership of a strong management team and the stewardship of Centre Partners, Kaz now markets its products to leading retailers under a variety of brand names, including Vicks(R) and Braun(R) under license from The Procter & Gamble Company, Honeywell(R) under license from Honeywell, and Stinger(R), Softheat(R) and Kaz(R), owned by Kaz, Inc. Product categories include vaporizers, humidifiers, digital, infrared and non-invasive thermometers, blood pressure monitors, hot/cold health care therapy, air purifiers, seasonal humidifiers, heaters, fans, and dehumidifiers, and lawn and garden products.

During Centre Partners’ investment period, Kaz also completed the acquisition of the Braun Health and Wellness business, which included Braun thermometers and blood pressure monitors, significantly expanding the Company’s global healthcare product offerings. In order to help guide Kaz through this period of rapid global expansion, Centre helped recruit a world class management team, led by Robert Kay, who served as Executive Chairman. Kay, now an operating partner of Centre Partners, was instrumental in building a strong and experienced management team and driving substantial growth in revenue and profitability.

Katzman said, “Our partnership with Centre was a key milestone in our evolution into a leading global player in our markets. Centre Partners’ strategic guidance and support were crucial to Kaz’s ability to acquire and integrate the Honeywell consumer products business, as well as the Braun Health and Wellness business.”

Kay added, “With the guidance of Centre Partners, Kaz was able to build upon its rich tradition of product innovation and accelerate growth to develop into a global leader, demonstrating remarkable expansion over the last eight years. We believe the business will continue to thrive under the ownership of Helen of Troy.”

Centre Partners Managing Partner David Jaffe said, “We are very pleased with the outcome of our investment in Kaz, which demonstrates the success of Centre Partners’ strategy of investing in leading middle market companies to affect a transformative event. By utilizing one of Centre’s operating partners and hiring several outstanding executives to partner with Richard Katzman in a family owned business, we were able to add significant value to the Company. We credit the entire Kaz management team and wish them much continued success.”

About Centre Partners
Centre Partners, founded in 1986, is a leading private equity firm with a middle market focus that seeks to make acquisitions and equity investments alongside management teams who have or desire a meaningful economic stake in the future success of their businesses. Centre Partners has invested over $3 billion in more than 90 transactions, partnering with management teams across a broad spectrum of industries. Centre Partners provides those teams with access to its unique resources, which include an extended network of experienced and proven operating executives. The firm is currently investing through its fifth fund and has over $1.5 billion in total assets under management. Centre has deep investment expertise covering consumer, healthcare, industrial products and services, financial services, energy, media, restaurants, retail, and aviation services. Additional information is available at www.centrepartners.com.

About Kaz
Kaz, based in Southborough, Massachusetts, markets its products to leading retailers under a variety of brand names, including Vicks(R) and Braun(R) under license from The Procter & Gamble Company, Honeywell(R) under license from Honeywell, and Stinger(R), Softheat(R) and Kaz(R), owned by Kaz, Inc. Product categories include vaporizers, humidifiers, digital, infrared and non-invasive thermometers, blood pressure monitors, hot/cold health care therapy, air purifiers, seasonal humidifiers, heaters, fans, and dehumidifiers, and lawn and garden products. The company was founded in 1926. Additional information is available at www.kaz.com.