KPS Capital Partners has completed its acquisition of certain assets of luxury tableware maker Waterford Wedgwood. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which included assets within Waterford Crystal, the pottery business Wedgwood and fine china maker Royal Doulton. Not included were either German porcelain maker Rosenthal or the company’s production facilities at its Waterford crystal plant in Ireland.KPS also announced that the company would be led by Pierre de Villemejane, former CEO of Speedline Technologies — a KPS portfolio company sold to Illinois Tool Works.
KPS Capital Partners, LP (“KPS”) announced today the acquisition of certain assets of Waterford Wedgwood Plc (together with all subsidiaries, “Waterford Wedgwood“), through a newly formed company, WWRD Holdings Limited (“WWRD Holdings or the “Company”). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The transaction is global in scale, involving the purchase of certain Waterford, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton assets in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada; the purchase of intellectual property in Ireland; and the purchase of the shares of certain Waterford Wedgwood subsidiaries, including in Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia.
KPS also announced that Pierre de Villemejane has been named Chief Executive Officer of WWRD Holdings. Mr. de Villemejane was previously Chief Executive Officer of Speedline Technologies, Inc., a KPS portfolio company, prior to its successful sale to Illinois Tool Works, Inc. Prior to Speedline, Mr. de Villemejane held a number of management positions in the United Kingdom and France, including at L’Oreal, where he demonstrated leadership in branded products management. The senior management team of WWRD Holdings will consist of executives from Waterford Wedgwood, including Anthony Jones, Moira Gavin and Ralf Kuhn.
Michael Psaros, a Managing Partner of KPS, said, “This is a new day for Waterford Wedgwood, the leading enterprise in the luxury home and lifestyle industry worldwide. As a new company created and owned by KPS, with an accomplished new CEO, and a new capital structure, the Company is positioned for great success. WWRD Holdings launches with legendary brands, global scale and a rock-solid balance sheet unencumbered by Waterford Wedgwood‘s approximately 800 million euros (US$1 billion) of legacy liabilities. Further, WWRD Holdings will have a leaner management structure, a materially improved cost structure and manufacturing footprint, and access to significant capital from KPS and its bank group to fund its growth.
“The Waterford Wedgwood transaction is the result of a highly complex, multi-constituency restructuring transaction, involving asset and share purchases in more than ten jurisdictions worldwide. Going forward, we and our management team will work to materially improve the Company’s core operations, efficiency and productivity, and drive significant revenue growth. We thank Bank of America for its leadership through the restructuring process and for its support of our new company,” Mr. Psaros added.
Mr. de Villemejane said, “This is the beginning of an exciting new era for Waterford Wedgwood. We look forward to building on the Company’s world-renowned brands and incomparable heritage, premier designers and strong customer relationships. No other company in this dynamic sector has a comparable breadth of products from classic to contemporary, and we intend to grow the business aggressively. Our exclusive focus will be on providing our customers with the most innovative, fashionable and quality products in the world.
“We intend to grow the company organically and through acquisition, leveraging our capital strength and the pre-committed acquisition facility contained in our bank financing. We believe that our primary competitors are generally undercapitalized and regionally focused, presenting a significant opportunity to consolidate the industry worldwide,” Mr. de Villemejane concluded.
Financing for the acquisition was provided by a bank syndicate, agented by Bank of America Business Capital through a credit facility, and by KPS Capital Finance Management LLC, through a term loan. Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal counsel to KPS and WWRD Holdings.
About KPS Capital Partners, LP
KPS Capital Partners, LP is the manager of the KPS Special Situations Funds, a family of private equity funds with over $1.8 billion of committed capital focused on constructive investing in restructurings, turnarounds and other special situations. KPS has created new companies to purchase operating assets out of bankruptcy; established stand-alone entities to operate divested assets; and recapitalized highly leveraged public and private companies. The KPS investment strategy targets companies with strong franchises that are experiencing operating and financial problems. KPS invests its capital concurrently with a turnaround plan predicated on cost reduction, capital investment and capital availability. Typically, the KPS turnaround plan is accompanied by a financial restructuring of the company’s liabilities. The KPS investment strategy and portfolio companies are described in detail at the firm’s website: www.kpsfund.com.
About WWRD Holdings Limited
WWRD Holdings Limited is the leading provider of luxury home and lifestyle products worldwide, sold under a number of well-recognized brands, including Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, Minton and Johnson Brothers. WWRD Holdings maintains unique licensing arrangements with some of the most high-profile innovators in the home and lifestyle market, including Vera Wang, Jasper Conran, John Rocha, Monique Lhuillier, Barbara Barry, Gordon Ramsay, Martha Stewart and Michael Aram. The Company’s products are distributed through premium department stores and independent retailers and wholesalers around the world, including in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Ireland. WWRD Holdings employs more than 3,700 people worldwide.