Sandbäckens acquires Rörbolaget M Söderkvist AB i Västervik

Segula

7 October, 2020

Sandbäckens continues its growth journey and strengthens its position in an additional strategic location, Västervik, through the acquisition of Rörbolaget M Söderkvist AB. The purchase agreement was signed on the 5th of October 2020.

Rörbolaget M Söderkvist AB was founded in 2004 by Mats Söderkvist, who has previously been active in companies such as Calor Celsius and BPA in Sweden and Germany. The Company has a strong market position and is today a full-service heating and sanitation partner to both companies and private individuals in Västervik and the surrounding area.

“I look forward to seeing Rörbolaget and my coworkers getting the opportunity to develop within Sandbäckens. Rörbolaget will continue to be a local, safe and flexible heating and sanitation partner here in Västervik, while at the same time gaining access to increased resources and being able to broaden our offering to the market” says Mats Söderkvist, CEO, Rörbolaget.

 ”I welcome Mats and the team at Rörbolaget to Sandbäckens. I eagerly anticipate following the Company’s continued development within the framework of Sandbäckens business model, as a subsidiary under the leadership of Mats as CEO and part-owner” says Mats Åström, Group CEO, Sandbäckens.

For further information, please visit www.sandbackens.se or contact:

Marcus Planting-Bergloo, Managing Partner, Segulah Advisor AB
+46 70 229 11 85, planting@segulah.se

Torbjörn Carlsson, Regional Manager South, Sandbäckens
+46 70 322 13 00, torbjorn.carlsson@sandbackens.se

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Bluegem III, SCSp has signed the acquisition of Béaba Group from Bridgepoint

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Bleugem

Bluegem is pleased to announce that it has signed the acquisition of the Béaba Group, owner of the Béaba and Red Castle brands, from Bridgepoint, Indigo and Société Cantilienne de Participations.

Since 1989, the French brand Béaba has accompanied parents at all moments of their baby’s life with high-quality, innovative and simple to use products, such as the brand’s hero product, the Babycook.

After conducting a capital and financial restructuring of the Béaba Group in 2017, Bridgepoint entrusted the Group’s chairmanship to Julien Laporte to accelerate Béaba’s transformation. Since then, the former member of Danone and L’Oréal has worked hand in hand with Bridgepoint to roll out a new strategic plan based on three main strategic axes:

• Innovation, with the release in early 2019 of a new “Made in France” version of its iconic product, the Babycook (the “Neo”), in parallel with the launch of 30 other new products.

• Béaba’s positioning as a multichannel player: the Group has readjusted and optimised its digital identity, and has strongly increased its direct sales via its BtoC website (Béaba sales tripled in one year).

• Acceleration of the Group’s international development to leverage on fast growing markets, particularly in Asia and the United States (leading to a sales growth of more than 20% per year in North America), after reorganising and resuming direct distribution in Germany (doubling of sales) and in Benelux. In early 2020, the Group took over direct control of its Chinese operations through a joint venture agreement with its local distributor.

Bolstered by the Group’s very strong sales in spite of Covid-19 turbulence, Bridgepoint gave Clearwater International a divestiture mandate in early summer 2020. In a context that witnessed strong interest from both strategic and financial investors, Bluegem pre-empted the sales process by submitting a firm offer in early September 2020.

Bluegem and the management team intend to pursue the Group’s current growth strategy and plan to make Béaba a European leader in the childcare sector.

With its strong track record in European consumer brands, Bluegem will support the management team on several strategic projects, including:

• The internationalisation of the Béaba brand, particularly in the United States, Asia-Pacific, Germany and the United Kingdom (where Bluegem holds another major player in the childcare sector: Mamas & Papas).

• Continued efforts to digitise the Group.

• Launch of new flagship products for the Group.

• Ramping up critical mass race through bolt-on acquisitions, particularly abroad.

Julien Laporte, CEO of the Béaba Group, explains: “We are grateful for Bridgepoint’s strong support in recent years. We are very pleased to start this new phase of development with Bluegem, which will allow us to accelerate our international growth and product innovations.”

Mathieu Develay, Head of Operations in France for Bluegem, continues: “We are delighted to be able to partner with Julien Laporte and his team in this new growth phase for Béaba. This investment fits perfectly with Bluegem III’s strategy, namely, to support strong and innovative brands in consumer goods, which have a growing international presence and a significant share of their sales online.”

Olivier Nemsguern, Managing Partner of BDC in France, declares: “This exit is a great success and is the recognition of BDC’s efforts and support for this unique brand. We are delighted with this passing of the torch, which demonstrates the relevance of the Group’s strategy, which we have supported alongside Management for several years.”

Stakeholders and advisors

Bridgepoint (Olivier Nemsguern, Louis Paul-Dauphin) was advised by Clearwater International (Philippe Guézenec, Matthias Krimmel, Alexis Vernay), PwC (Stéphane Salustro, Maxence Pleynet) and Racine Avocats (Mélanie Coiraton, Elena Pintea-Pouchkine).

BlueGem (Marco Capello, Mathieu Develay) was advised by Oaklins France (Thibaut de Monclin, Hadrien Mollard), Alvarez & Marsal (Jonathan Gibbons), Baker & McKenzie (David Allen, Antoine Caillard), Arsene Taxand (Alexandre Rocchi), Marlborough Partners (Romain Cattet) and Willkie Farr (Paul Lombard).

Bank financing will be provided by Oldenburgische Landesbank Aktiengesellschaft (“OLB”).

About Béaba Group

Béaba Group, created in 1989 with the invention of the Babycook, is one of the leaders in small childcare items and generates a turnover of nearly €50 million, half of which is international.

With more than a hundred employees, mostly based in France at Béaba’s historic site inOyonnax (Ain), the Group designs, develops and markets innovative and easy-to-use products to aid parents. With offices in several European countries as well as in Hong Kong, the United States and China, Béaba Group is particularly focused on international development.

Thanks to its flagship products, Béaba is a reference brand in the childcare sector.

www.beaba.com

About Bluegem Capital Partners

Bluegem Capital Partners is a London-based pan-European, mid-market private equity manager, established in 2007. It focuses on consumer businesses across all verticals

Bluegem specialises in supporting leading European brands in the consumer goods sector. Its second fund holds investments in Mamas & Papas (childcare), Iconic London (makeup), QMS (cosmetics), Dr. Vranjes (indoor perfumery)and others.

Béaba is Bluegem’s third investment in France after DMC in 2016 (world leader in embroidery thread, stake sold to Lion Capital in 2019) and Big Fernand in 2017 (gourmet burgers).

Bluegem is currently investing its third fund.

www.bluegemcp.com

About Bridgepoint Development Capital (BDC)

In France, the smid-cap activity of the international private equity group Bridgepoint includes:

– Bridgepoint Development Capital (BDC) whose portfolio consists of 5 companies: Anaveo (acquired in December 2015), CIR (acquired in October 2017), PrivateSportShop (acquired in July 2018), Bee2Link (acquired in February 2019) and Cyrus (acquired in 2020).

– Bridgepoint Portfolio Services (BPS), which took over 13 holding companies from EdRCP in summer 2014 and now includes Sotralu.

Bridgepoint Development Capital (BDC), with a team of 28 professionals in Europe (including 9 in Paris), is now one of the few investors in smid-cap able to support midcaps in their international development thanks to the support of Bridgepoint’s nine investment offices and its operational teams based in New York, San Francisco and Shanghai.

Bridgepoint Development Capital (BDC) specializes in smid-cap transactions, investing equity tickets between €30 and €130 million.

Its fourth fund, BDC IV, worth €1.7 billion was raised in 2020. Its previous fund, BDC III, with €670 million raised in 2016, is approaching the end of its investment period, with 80% of the fund already invested in 12 assets.

www.bridgepoint.eu

Press contacts:

For Beaba Group:

Anita Jean / anita.jean@beaba.com / +33 (0)4 74 12 03 51

For Bluegem Capital Partners:

Mathieu Develay / m.develay@bluegemcp.com / +44 (0)784 134 0204

For Bridgepoint Development Capital:

CTCom : Sibylle Descamps / sibylle.descamps@ct-com.com / +33 (0)6 82 09 70 07

Image 7 : Charlotte Mouraret / cmouraret@image7.fr / +33 (0)6 89 87 62 17

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Sound United Finalizes Acquisition of Bowers & Wilkins

Charlesbank

Sound United LLC, parent company to Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology, Classé, and Boston Acoustics, today announced that it has finalized the acquisition of Bowers & Wilkins, a leading designer and manufacturer of luxury home audio speakers, headphones, custom installation products, wireless speakers, and branded audio systems in the automotive and television markets.

“Acquiring Bowers & Wilkins combines its industry-leading acoustic design, engineering and manufacturing expertise in the premium category with Sound United’s scale, technical acumen and consumer reach to ensure Bowers & Wilkins thrives moving forward,” said Kevin Duffy, CEO at Sound United. “Sound United has a strong track record of enthusiastically protecting each of its brands’ unique identities and core competencies, and our approach with Bowers & Wilkins will be no different. In fact, we believe the entire portfolio stands to benefit from the addition of Bowers & Wilkins, which in turn translates into exciting new products, technologies and opportunities for our consumers, distributors, dealers, and all audio enthusiasts around the world.”

Geoff Edwards will ensure continuity by becoming President of the Bowers & Wilkins brand at Sound United. The acquisition includes all worldwide third-party distribution and licensing agreements under which Bowers & Wilkins premium audio products are currently sold.  Investing in additional brands enables Sound United to better innovate across product categories, feature sets, technology partners, and consumer segments. As part of the acquisition, Sound United is eager to support the development of new Bowers & Wilkins products to support the brand’s position in the premium acoustic home audio market.

“This acquisition represents a new era for Bowers & Wilkins and offers a fresh opportunity to focus on what we do best, building the industry’s finest loudspeakers,” said Geoff Edwards, CEO of Bowers & Wilkins. “We’re looking forward to combining our organizations and becoming a part of the industry’s strongest portfolio of premium audio brands.”

Sound United is a portfolio company of Boston-based private equity firm Charlesbank Capital Partners, LLC. Houlihan Lokey served as the exclusive financial advisor to Bowers & Wilkins.

 

About Sound United

Sound United was founded in 2012 with a simple mission – to bring joy to the world through sound. Today, we’re one of the world’s largest portfolio audio companies and home to several legendary audio brands—Denon®, Marantz®, Polk Audio, Classé, Definitive Technology, HEOS, and Boston Acoustics®.  Each brand boasts its own philosophy and unique approach to bringing home entertainment to life.

 

With centuries of collective experience, Sound United oversees the design and manufacture of a diverse array of premium audio products, including loudspeakers, sound bars, AV receivers, wireless speakers, amplifiers, turntables, and headphones. We create distinct and memorable listening experiences for a wide range of consumers in more than 130 countries. For more information on Sound United and our mission, please visit www.soundunited.com.

 

About Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins, founded in the U.K. in 1966, has been at the forefront of high-performance audio technology for more than 50 years. Bowers & Wilkins designs and manufactures precision home speakers, headphones, custom installation and performance car audio products that set new standards for innovation and sound quality, earning countless awards and accolades from the world’s leading recording studios and musicians. Bowers & Wilkins’ reputation is based on the unwavering pursuit of the best possible sound and an unsurpassable music listening experience.  Learn more at www.bowerswilkins.com.

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Folmer Equity Fund II invests in Nanso and Vogue brands

Folmer

Folmer Equity Fund II Ky, a fund managed by the Finnish private equity company Folmer Management Oy, acquires a majority stake in Nanso Group Oy. Nanso Group is the owner of the Nanso and Vogue brands, which are among the most prestigious women’s clothing brands in Finland.
Together, Nanso Group Oy and Holmberg Brands Oy, a company already owned by the fund, form a significant entity in Finland with a broad brand portfolio and with expected current fiscal year revenue of ca. 28 MEUR and a total of 110 employees. The current majority owners of Nanso Group and minority owners of Holmberg Brands will continue with the new group as significant minority shareholders.
“The acquisition enables Holmberg Brands, the fund’s current portfolio company, to work even more closely with the Nanso Group and to fully develop the companies by realizing the synergies to full extent”, says Sami Tuominen, Managing Director and Partner of Folmer Management.
“The acquisition will ensure the long-term development of the Nanso and Vogue brands in the future and will significantly contribute to the acceleration of our growth strategy,” says Antti Rönkkö, Managing Director of Nanso Group.

For more information:
Managing Director, Partner Sami Tuominen, Folmer Management Oy, tel. +358 40 708 4905, sami.tuominen@folmer.fi
Managing Director Antti Rönkkö, Nanso Group Oy, tel. +358 50 5184 750, antti.ronkko@nansogroup.com

Nanso Group Oy, established in 1921, is a consumer driven brand company that operates two iconic, well-known fashion brands, Nanso and Vogue. Its products are known for unique patterns, high quality and timeless Finnish design. Vogue is one of the most prestigious hosiery brands in the Nordic countries. www.nanso.com www.vogue.fi
Holmberg Brands Oy has a wide selection of own and licensed brands. In addition, the company has its own design and production expertise, and it also acts as an importer of textiles and apparel products. www.holmbergbrands.fi

Folmer Management Oy is a Finnish private equity company investing in Finnish SMEs. Folmer creates value through active development work. Folmer provides companies with support and professional experience – a requirement for success. www.folmer.fi
Folmer Equity Fund II Ky benefits from the support of the European Union under the Equity Facility for Growth established under Regulation (EU) No 1287/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council establishing a Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium enterprises (COSME) (2014-2020). Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing:

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Oakley Capital acquires 7NXT

Oakley

Oakley Capital (“Oakley”) is pleased to announce that it has acquired a majority stake in 7NXT GmbH (“7NXT” or the “Group”), the leading online fitness and nutrition platform in the German-speaking region, from founder and CEO Markan Karajica and Crosslantic Capital. Mr Karajica will continue in his role as CEO and will retain a significant minority stake in the business.
7NXT comprises three businesses: Gymondo, the leading female-focused online fitness subscription platform; Shape Republic, a direct-to-consumer fitness nutrition and supplements brand; and Brand Solutions, 7NXT’s complementary merchandising and licensing division. Gymondo accounts for the majority of the Group’s revenues, offering subscription-based access to high-quality workout videos, customised fitness programs and personalised nutrition plans. Since launching in 2013, Gymondo has seen over 2 million accounts registered.

Through its investment, Oakley will partner with Mr Karajica and the management team to scale 7NXT in the rapidly growing online fitness and health market and accelerate both its domestic and international growth. Oakley will support the management team through its network, operational experience and expertise in the consumer technology sector, established through its track-record of successful investments in market leading platforms, such as Parship Elite, Facile.it and Wishcard Technologies Group (formerly Seven Miles).

Oakley originated the deal through its strong relationship with Markan Karajica. The investment demonstrates Oakley’s ability to leverage its wider network and its reputation as an attractive business partner for entrepreneurs.

Peter Dubens, Managing Partner of Oakley Capital, commented:
“7NXT is a leader in the high-growth digital fitness and nutrition market, with an excellent leadership team, driven to fulfil their mission of empowering people to live healthy and positive lifestyles. As a founder-led, tech-enabled business, 7NXT demonstrates many of the traits that Oakley targets in an investment and we believe that it is well placed to build on its position as the German market leader. We are looking forward to partnering with Markan and the team at this exciting stage.”

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Zwift Raises $450 Million Investment; Series C Round Led By KKR

KKR

Zwift, the global online fitness platform for cyclists and runners, today announced a $450 million minority investment led by leading global investment firm KKR, accompanied by other new investors Permira, Specialized Bicycle Components’ venture capital fund, Zone 5 Ventures and the Amazon Alexa Fund and existing investors including True, Highland Europe, Novator and Causeway Media. The investment will be used to accelerate the development of Zwift’s core software platform and bring Zwift-designed hardware to market, making Zwift a more immersive and seamless experience for users.

Zwift uses the power of gaming technology to bring the outdoor experience indoors, making at home exercise a fun, engaging and social experience by connecting cyclists and runners in immersive 3D computer-generated worlds. Users of the Zwift platform interact, train and compete together by wirelessly pairing a bike trainer or treadmill to the Zwift app, to power their in-game avatars. This fully immersive experience brings the experience of the outside world into the virtual, simulating the gradients of mountain climbs and the draft of other riders. The platform offers its members the opportunity to explore 240 miles of terrain in 10 virtual worlds where they can also follow structured training plans, enjoy group rides or take part in any one of the hundreds of daily mass participation events. The social aspect of the platform helps deliver the experience of competitive and communal training for users who want to ride or run together and maintain social connections from the comfort of their homes, with the user experience continually improving as the community grows.

Since launching in 2015, Zwift has seen over 2.5 million accounts registered across 190 countries, positioning Zwift as a global leader in the at-home connected fitness market. Zwift’s prominence has increased significantly in 2020 as many turned to the platform to provide not just a fitness solution but also a means to help them maintain their social connections by joining Zwift’s vibrant community who work out together online. Zwift has also led the way in a new category of physically-powered esports, hosting a number of professional events including the first Virtual Tour de France in July, an event broadcast to over 130 countries worldwide that saw the world’s best male and female professional cyclists compete. Later this year, Zwift will be the host platform for the inaugural UCI Cycling Esports World Championships.

Stephen Shanley, Director at KKR, said: “Zwift is the preeminent digital brand for the global cycling community with a best-in-class product that sits at the intersection of digital health,

gaming and at-home fitness. We see tremendous potential ahead as Zwift invests further in its digital and physical products to enhance the experience for its global community of enthusiastic users. This investment fits perfectly with our growth equity strategy of backing leading tech entrepreneurs as they scale globally.” Patrick Devine, Principal at KKR, added: “We are delighted to lead this round, supporting Eric and his team with access to KKR’s global platform and resources.”

Andrew Young, a Principal in Permira’s Menlo Park office, said: “Zwift is a perfect fit with Permira’s DNA, not least because we have a big Zwift fanbase in the firm, but also an extensive track record of investing in consumer technology businesses to deliver global growth. We’re excited to partner with Eric and the team as they seek to turbo charge product investment and to solidify Zwift’s position as the leader of at-home fitness.”

Paul Cocker, Co-Founder of True, said: “As existing investors, we are delighted to have significantly increased our support for Zwift in this round, which reflects the strength of the relationship we have built with Eric and the team, as well as the confidence we have developed in the technology and brand over the last two years. This is our first $100m investment and we are excited about the increased opportunity this transaction now gives Zwift to further transform at-home fitness.”

Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder, said: “With this investment, Zwift is primed to operate in a broader fitness market and deliver on our ambition to provide gamified fitness through integrated software and hardware, to anyone who wants to have fun while getting fit at home. We will be accelerating our investment in the core business, improving the overall product experience, and bringing forward new features, more content and Zwift designed hardware, all with the support of KKR and our new outside investors who can help drive our growth. To make this happen, we will be increasing headcount within our core product teams, investing in the very best people. We begin by welcoming Ilkka Paananen to Zwift both as an investor and independent board member.”

Ilkka Paananen, Co-Founder & CEO, Supercell, said: “Zwift is uniquely positioned to lead the way and grow a new global fitness community, combining video gaming and sports, two of my great passions. I have been incredibly impressed by Eric’s vision and ambition, and his commitment to building a world-class product for the community. There are many exciting growth opportunities for Zwift and I’m looking forward to being a part of this journey.”

Specialized’s investment represents the beginning of a strategic partnership between the global cycling brand and Zwift. Both brands share the belief that cycling, whether indoor or outdoor, has the power to improve lives. Chris Yu, Leader of Product and Innovation at

Specialized, stated “our goal is to pedal the planet forward by getting more riders riding, and we are beyond excited at the opportunity to partner with Zwift to break down the barriers to riding indoors on the world’s most engaging platform.”

KKR’s investment was made through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund II, a global fund dedicated to growth equity investments in the technology space. KKR has established a strong track record of supporting technology-focused growth companies, having invested over $2.7 billion in related investments since 2014. Permira’s investment was made through its Growth Opportunities Fund I, which focuses on minority investments in growth-focused, tech-enabled businesses. Specialized’s investment was made through its venture fund, Zone 5 Ventures, which focuses primarily on minority investments at the intersection of sports, media, technology and health and wellness. In connection with the financing, some investors will purchase shares from certain existing shareholders. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as Sole Placement Agent on the financing.

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For further information, please contact:

Chris Snook, +44 (0)7833 087 739, chris.snook@zwift.com

 

About Zwift

Zwift is the fitness company born from gaming. We’re dedicated fitness enthusiasts that also happen to be experienced software and video game developers. Combining that passion and deep understanding of the fitness world, Zwift is the first company to use massively multiplayer gaming technology to bring the outdoor experience indoors. Athletes from around the globe can train and compete with each other in rich, 3D-generated worlds simply by connecting their existing devices & hardware (e.g. cycle trainers, power meters, treadmills, heart rate monitors, etc) wirelessly via open industry standard ANT+ and BLE. From friendly competition, to racing & structured training programs, Zwift is building a community of like-minded athletes united in the pursuit of a better social fitness experience.

About KKR

KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, credit and real assets, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment

opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.

About True

True (www.true.global) is Europe’s only retail and consumer sector specialist that operates across the entire investment vertical. True invests in business models which represent the future of the industry. True’s Live Network model brings together its private equity companies, startup and growth businesses, investors and industry partners to add value, both strategically and operationally, across the retail and consumer spectrum.

About Permira

Permira is a global investment firm. Founded in 1985, the firm advises funds with a total committed capital of approximately US$50bn (€44bn) and makes long-term investments, including majority control investments as well as strategic minority investments, in companies with the objective of transforming their performance and driving sustainable growth. The Permira funds have made over 250 private equity investments in four key sectors: Technology, Consumer, Services, and Healthcare. Permira employs over 250 people in 14 offices across Europe, North America, and Asia.

About Zone 5 Ventures

Zone 5 Ventures, Specialized Bicycle Components’ venture fund, focuses on helping innovative technology companies at the intersection of sports, media, technology and health and wellness. Leveraging its extensive network and collective experience in sports, entrepreneurship, technology and operations, Zone 5 Ventures invests its capital, resources and expertise to help entrepreneurs accelerate growth and innovation. Zone 5 Ventures, along with its partner companies, offers a one-of-a-kind platform to enable its portfolio companies to redefine how the inner athlete in all of us harnesses technology to achieve goals and ultimately improve lives. To learn more about Zone 5 Ventures visit zone5ventures.com

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KKR to Acquire DTC Pioneer 1-800 Contacts from AEA Investors

KKR

DRAPER, Utah, Sept. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — 1-800 Contacts, the largest retailer of contact lenses in the U.S., today announced a definitive agreement under which global investment firm KKR will acquire the company from AEA Investors. The sale follows many years of strong growth and technology innovation for the vision brand, which was purchased by AEA Investors in 2016. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Vision Industry Pioneer 1-800 Contacts Announces Sale

Innovation is central to 1-800 Contacts’ strategy and differentiation as a pioneering direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand. Over the last several years, the company has made significant investments in technology and expanding its offerings, including acquiring vision technology startup 6over6 in late 2019 and launching new app-based offerings including ExpressExam, which enables consumers to renew contact lens prescriptions online in minutes. The company’s sister brand Liingo Eyewear also introduced Rx Reader, an app that extracts optical parameters directly from a pair of prescription glasses.

“1-800 Contacts was founded 25 years ago to offer consumers a better way to buy contact lenses. Since the very beginning, we’ve kept the customer at the center of everything we do,” said John Graham, CEO of 1-800 Contacts. “It’s gratifying that KKR sees such incredible value in our brand and that they will continue to support us in doing what we do best – delivering the best vision care to consumers with the highest quality customer service.”

Nate Taylor, KKR Partner and Co-Head of Americas Private Equity, said, “1-800 Contacts is a customer-centric, technology-enabled business that is bringing more convenience to the optical space. We are excited to invest behind John and his world-class team.” Felix Gernburd, KKR Managing Director, added, “We believe 1-800 Contacts’ singular focus on providing a consistent and high quality customer experience, fueled by industry-leading capabilities and telemedicine solutions, positions them well to continue to drive innovation in the category.”

As Americans dealt with stay-at-home orders and business closures in response to COVID-19 earlier this year, many contact lens wearers turned to 1-800 Contacts in place of traditional brick and mortar sellers. During the peak of the COVID-19 shutdown, the company experienced a 100 percent year-over-year increase in new and returning customers. During that period, usage of the ExpressExam app also increased 200 percent and the Rx Reader app experienced a 700 percent increase in monthly active users. In order to maintain the highest quality customer service, 1-800 Contacts also invested in more than 200 new hires in its Utah and North Carolina operations.

KKR is making the investment through its Core Investments strategy, which represents capital targeting longer-term opportunities.

1-800 Contacts is being advised by Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC as lead financial advisor, Jefferies Group LLC as co-financial advisor, and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP as legal advisor. CapM served as special advisor to 1-800 Contacts. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is serving as legal advisor to KKR.

About 1-800 Contacts
1-800 Contacts is the original disruptor of the vision industry. The brand is well-known for efficient, high-quality, and delightful customer service and has advocated relentlessly on behalf of customers, paving the way for a new generation of DTC brands. 1-800 Contacts is the largest seller of contact lenses in the U.S., serving more than 20 million customers for the last 25 years. The growing portfolio of innovative 1-800 Contacts brands includes Liingo Eyewear, 6over6, Boomerang, and Premium Vision.

About AEA
AEA Investors LP was founded in 1968 by the Rockefeller, Mellon and Harriman family interests and S.G. Warburg & Co. as a private investment vehicle for a select group of industrial family offices with substantial assets. AEA has an extraordinary global network built over many years which includes leading industrial families, business executives and leaders; many of whom invest with AEA as active individual investors (“Participants”) and/or join its portfolio company boards or act in other advisory roles. Today, AEA’s approximately 90 investment professionals operate globally with offices in New York, Connecticut, London, Munich and Shanghai. The firm manages funds that have approximately $15 billion of invested and committed capital including the leveraged buyouts of middle market companies and small business companies and mezzanine and senior debt investments. AEA Private Equity invests across three sectors: value added industrials, consumer and services.

About KKR
KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, credit and real assets, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.

SOURCE 1-800 Contacts

Related Links

https://www.1800contacts.com/

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3i invests in GartenHaus to build the leading European platform for home and garden projects

3I

3i Group plc (“3i Group”) announces that it has agreed to invest c. £60m for a majority stake in A-Z Gartenhaus GmbH (“GartenHaus”), an online leader in garden homes, sheds, saunas, and related products in the DACH region. As part of the transaction, GartenHaus’ management team and board will also invest to become shareholders in the business.

GartenHaus offers garden houses, sheds, carports, terraces, saunas and other, often bulky, garden and home related products with garden houses being its core product category. The company focuses on the high-quality, mid-to-upper priced segment of the market and differentiates itself through product development, excellent customer service and the management of complex logistics to deliver and assemble its products which weigh on average more than 1,000 kg.

GartenHaus, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, was founded in 2002 and is a pure eCommerce player. With the launch of its first online shop in 2009, GartenHaus has been the pioneer in selling garden homes directly to consumers. With around 75 employees, the company combines specialist trade product know-how with digital competence and offers a one-stop shop for customers, from planning to realisation and maintenance of garden and home projects.

The company benefits from direct interaction with its customers along the complete project journey with a high level of SEO website traffic as a result of its strong content. Driven by a further shift towards online and the increasing popularity of gardening and leisure trends, the relevant home and garden market is expected to grow by more than 10 percent per year going forward while online penetration is expected to double by 2025.

Peter Wirtz, Partner, 3i, commented: “For us, GartenHaus is a highly attractive investment opportunity. It is a niche market player with strong digital capabilities which is benefitting from the shift to online. We see GartenHaus as a nucleus to establish the online champion for home and garden projects across Europe. The key focus is to expand the product range into adjacent categories, as well as to internationalise the business by expanding into neighbouring countries such as the UK, France, Scandinavia and the Netherlands which have fragmented markets and similar product trends.”

Sebastian Arendt, CEO, GartenHaus added: “3i has a great reputation for helping its companies to grow internationally and we are excited to partner with its team at this point in our journey. The 3i team has a strong network, excellent digital capabilities and a strong track record in the consumer retail space, all of which will be of great benefit to GartenHaus.”

 

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Innovestor makes follow-on investment in Ruokaboksi, leading Finnish meal-kit delivery provider

Innovestor

With the growing trend of consumers moving their purchases to e-commerce sites, the online grocery market has grown rapidly. Although the Finnish market is still smaller compared to our Nordic neighbours, it is catching up fast. Within this segment, and particularly in covid-19 stricken times, subscription-based FoodTech platforms have experienced sharp increases in sales.

Ruokaboksi’s service is based on a weekly subscription meal box, which is delivered straight to the customers door and includes all the ingredients with dinner recipes needed for the week. The company has 3 different sized meal boxes to choose from, based on preferences for e.g. vegetarian or child-friendly recipes. Also the number of recipes can be altered.

By delivering ready-made meal boxes with all the ingredients needed to prepare dinner, the service eases everyday by eliminating the age-old question of ‘what to eat today’ and cuts down the hassle of supermarket trips. Especially in the current covid-19 climate, services such as Ruokaboksi’s allow customers to stay safe at home as much as possible.

The co-founding team lead by CEO Juhana Rintala came up with the idea and joined forces when they all had small children, and were looking for ways to handle the weekly food shopping in a stress-free way.

“We see that rapid growth is needed in this is the type of business. With Innovestor’s help we have been able to invest in marketing and sales, aspects needed for growth. During our first year of operation, our revenue was around 200–300k euro, in June it was around 3 million euro. By the end of this year, we forecast our revenue will hit close to 10 million euro. Our growth curve continues to be quite steep” stated Ruokaboksi’s CEO Juhana Rintala.

 

Ruokaboksi

Innovestor was lead investor in Ruokaboksi’s seed funding round in 2018. Since then the team has made great headway on their growth plans, resulting in us now making a follow-on investment during the summer of 2020. We were joined by the company’s previous investors, Korpi Capital and Reaktor Ventures, bringing the total funding round to 600k euro.

“The company has continued to execute strongly in a very interesting market, and we are glad support the company into their next growth phase” commented Innovestor’s Wilhelm Lindholm.

 

For more information: 

Juhana Rintala

CEO, Ruokaboksi

juhana.rintala(a)ruokaboksi.fi +358 45 2268320

 

Wilhelm Lindholm

Managing Partner, Innovestor Ltd.

wilhelm.lindholm(a)innovestor.fi +358 40 5811051

 

Ruokaboksi in the Media:

Koronakriisi mullisti ruoan verkkokaupan – myös ateriakassien myynti on moninkertaistunut: ”Meillä keräily ei ruuhkaudu”

Ruoan verkkokauppa ja kirjolohen kasvattaja pörssiin?– Katso pääomasijoittajien tuore lista 54 mahdollisesta pörssilistautujasta

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AURELIUS subsidiary Scholl Footwear sells its Australian distribution business to Global Footcare Group

Aurelius Capital

Munich / Melbourne / Milan, September 21, 2020 – Scholl Footwear, a subsidiary of AURELIUS Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA (ISIN: DE000A0JK2A8), is selling its Australian distribution business to the Global Footcare Group based in Coomera, Queensland, Australia. Global Footcare is a strategic buyer and specializes in the distribution and marketing of comfort footwear. The company will drive sales of Scholl shoes in Australia and New Zealand, via wholesale and specialist channels like pharmacy, health professionals, as well as sports and shoe retail outlets.

The sales transaction is part of Scholl Footwear’s global strategy of leveraging strong regional partners and industry specialists to generate additional growth and further improve earnings through licensing and distribution partnerships.

In Europe, Scholl Footwear operates from its headquarters in Milan, Italy, from which design and collection development, marketing, distribution and licensing activities are managed. Its Asian business is driven via the APAC hub, with the expansion of licensing partnerships playing the leading role.

“Global Footcare is the most capable partner for marketing our products in Australia and New Zealand, especially in view of its already long established partnership as a Scholl Footwear distributor across the medical channel in Australia and New Zealand as well as its local presence and proximity to customers. We’re looking forward to working jointly on future growth,” said Tobias Klaiber, the responsible executive for Scholl Footwear. “We’re considering similar concepts for other markets in the APAC region as well.”

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