Press Releases

KPS Capital Partners Acquires Certain Assets of Waterford Wedgwood Worldwide

Mar 26, 2009

Forms WWRD Holdings Limited
Pierre De Villemejane Names Chief Executive Officer
New Company Plans to Consolidate Industry

New York, NY (March 26, 2009) -- 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 Villeméjane has been named Chief Executive Officer of WWRD Holdings. Mr. de Villeméjane 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 Villeméjane held a number of management positions in the United Kingdom and France, including at L’Oréal, 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 (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 Villeméjane 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 Villeméjane 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 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.

About KPS Capital Partners

KPS, through its affiliated management entities, is the manager of the KPS Special Situations Funds, a family of investment funds with over $11.5 billion of assets under management (as of October 15, 2019).  For over two decades, the Partners of KPS have worked exclusively to realize significant capital appreciation by making controlling equity investments in manufacturing and industrial companies across a diverse array of industries, including basic materials, branded consumer, healthcare and luxury products, automotive parts, capital equipment and general manufacturing.  KPS creates value for its investors by working constructively with talented management teams to make businesses better, and generates investment returns by structurally improving the strategic position, competitiveness and profitability of its portfolio companies, rather than primarily relying on financial leverage. The KPS Funds’ portfolio companies have aggregate annual revenues of approximately $8.3 billion, operate 134 manufacturing facilities in 26 countries, and have approximately 28,000 employees, directly and through joint ventures worldwide. The KPS investment strategy and portfolio companies are described in detail at www.kpsfund.com.

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