Star Avenue Capital Backs IT’SUGAR

Star Avenue Capital has taken a minority stake in Florida-based IT’SUGAR, a chain of specialty candy and gift stores located throughout the United States. Star Avenue partner joins Founder Jeff Rubin and existing investor Prentice Consumer Partners as a shareholder. Terms of the deal were not released. IT’SUGAR was formed in 2005.

Star Avenue Capital, LLC (“Star Avenue”) announced today that it has acquired a minority ownership position in IT’SUGAR. Based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, IT’SUGAR is a rapidly growing chain of fun, chic specialty candy and gift stores located throughout the United States and select international markets. With this investment, Star Avenue is partnering with CEO and Founder Jeff Rubin and existing investor Prentice Consumer Partners to provide the resources and strategic guidance to support IT’SUGAR’s rapid expansion. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2005, IT’SUGAR was created to bring a level of fun and irreverence that Mr. Rubin felt was missing from the candy retail landscape. IT’SUGAR began with a simple mission – to disrupt the white noise of daily life with a bunch of stuff that serves no purpose whatsoever other than to elicit laughter, happiness, and childlike euphoria. The company is dedicated to the single-minded pursuit of everything frivolous, overindulgent, and delightfully naughty. Beginning with its first store in Atlantic City, New Jersey, IT’SUGAR has taken that mission to over 50 retail locations across 13 states and 4 international markets.

Star Avenue is a consumer-focused growth equity vehicle formed in partnership with private equity firm Irving Place Capital and leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (“CAA”). Star Avenue leverages the proprietary relationships and resources of its joint venture partners to help high-potential brands capitalize on consumer trends, increase relevancy in popular culture, and achieve growth.

“In Star Avenue I found a partner that not only shares my creative vision for IT’SUGAR but one that has a unique ability to help me achieve my mission of turning IT’SUGAR into a global brand that reminds us all that sometimes we need to indulge in the simple pleasures to enjoy life,” said Jeff Rubin. “Star Avenue’s exclusive relationships and access to resources will allow the IT’SUGAR brand to engage our customers in new, creative, and exciting ways as we continue to expand.”

“Star Avenue is excited to partner with a creative force like Jeff,” said Paul Lattanzio, Star Avenue Capital’s President. “He has developed a truly unique company with a distinctive voice, and we believe that IT’SUGAR has the opportunity to become an iconic global brand.”

Mario Ciampi, Managing Partner of Prentice Consumer Partners said, “We look forward to having Star Avenue as part of the IT’SUGAR team. Their experience in building brands and access to entertainment assets will contribute significantly to an already exciting story. We have tremendous momentum in the business and this transaction will help us continue our aggressive growth.”

Stifel Nicolaus acted as the exclusive financial advisor, and Lowenstein Sandler PC acted as counsel for IT’SUGAR. Star Avenue Capital was represented by Sidley Austin, LLP.

IT’SUGAR® is one of the largest and fastest growing specialty candy and gift retailers in the world with over 50 retail locations and aggressive growth plans to continue expanding throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Retail locations include U.S. hotspots like New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Scottsdale, San Diego, and Palm Beach in addition to chic international destinations such as London, Dubai, and Grand Cayman.

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About Star Avenue Capital
Star Avenue Capital is a growth equity firm focused on making equity investments in branded consumer product and retail companies. Leveraging the resources, relationships and expertise of its joint venture partners, Irving Place Capital and Creative Artists Agency, Star Avenue Capital was created to be a differentiated private equity group, providing growth capital to companies in the branded consumer products and branded retail industries.

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Prentice Capital Management

Formed in 2005, Prentice Capital Management is a leading alternatives investment firm and pursues a fundamentally-driven investment strategy, with a primary focus on companies operating in the U.S. consumer/retail sector. Prentice allocates capital across the capital structure and embraces a bottom-up, specialized research approach, with a particular focus on turn-arounds, special situations, and providing growth capital to companies within the consumer/retail sector. Prentice seeks to identify unique brands and concepts, attractive business models, and partner with companies to unlock investor value.

About Irving Place Capital

Irving Place Capital is a middle-market private equity firm that invests in buyouts, recapitalizations, and growth capital opportunities. The firm focuses on making control or entrepreneur-driven investments in retail, consumer, industrial, and healthcare companies where it can apply its substantial operating and strategic resources and expertise to enhance value. Since its formation in 1997, Irving Place Capital has been an investor in more than 55 companies and has raised over $4 billion of equity capital, including its current $2.7 billion institutional fund.

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About Creative Artists Agency

Creative Artists Agency is the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency, representing many of the most successful professionals working in film, television, music, video games, theatre, fashion, and the Internet, and provides a range of strategic marketing and consulting services to corporate clients. CAA is also a leader in sports, representing more than 700 of the world’s top athletes in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, and golf, and works in the areas of broadcast rights, corporate marketing initiatives, licensing, and sports properties for sales/sponsorship opportunities. In addition, The Intelligence Group, a market research and trend forecasting company, is a division of CAA.