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KPS Capital Partners to sell WWRD to Fiskars Corporation

KPS Capital Partners (KPS) is to sell its portfolio company, WWRD Holdings (WWRD) to Fiskars Corporation (Fiskars) for USD437 million in cash, subject to a post completion adjustment based upon the level of net working capital and cash and debt in the acquired business.

WWRD is a leading provider of luxury home and lifestyle products sold worldwide under the Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert and Rogaska brands. WWRD maintains unique licensing arrangements with some of the most high-profile designers and innovators in the home and lifestyle market, including Vera Wang, Jasper Conran, Monique Lhuillier, John Rocha, Gordon Ramsay, Donna Hay, Jo Sampson and Miranda Kerr. WWRD sells its branded products in over 80 countries around the world.

In 2009, KPS created a new company, WWRD, to acquire the Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Royal Albert brands and certain related assets out of the Administration and Receivership of Waterford Wedgwood plc and its subsidiaries. Under KPS' ownership, WWRD undertook a highly ambitious and successful turnaround on a global scale that resulted in a thriving and profitable company. KPS retained a new management team that implemented a new business strategy and results-driven corporate culture. Key elements of WWRD's transformation included creating a new centralised organisation and management structure, repositioning the brands, introducing new products, entering into new product categories, launching a new hospitality business, and expanding into new geographies and sales channels. Central to the success of the turnaround was materially improving WWRD's operating cash cost structure, optimising the global supply chain, and introducing world-class manufacturing practices and a culture of continuous improvement worldwide.

Michael Psaros, a Managing Partner of KPS, says: "We are very proud of WWRD's stunning turnaround, executed across four continents, at the height of the financial crisis in 2009. KPS did not buy or invest in a company at that time; rather we created a new company that acquired a collection of deeply under-managed brands and assets from a failed enterprise and transformed them into a thriving, profitable, and growing branded luxury goods company. In creating WWRD, KPS saved the iconic Wedgwood, Waterford, Royal Doulton and Royal Albert brands, preserving the heritage and legacy of institutions that are each hundreds of years old.

"We take great pride that WWRD, under KPS' ownership, constructed the House of Waterford Crystal in Waterford, Ireland, and is currently in the process of redeveloping the Wedgwood Estate in Barlaston, England. We made the decision and committed the capital to construct two new, world-class manufacturing facilities and related unique visitor experiences.

"The success of WWRD saved approximately 3,800 jobs and preserved an employer vital to all of its stakeholders worldwide. WWRD exemplifies the KPS investment strategy of seeing value where others do not, buying right and making businesses better.

"We thank and congratulate Pierre de Villemejane, WWRD's Chief Executive Officer, and our management team for their vision, their passion and their brilliant execution in an extremely ambitious undertaking.

"We are thrilled to sell WWRD to Fiskars, a company with its own 365-year history, which understands WWRD is not just a company or a group of iconic brands, but also possesses a unique legacy and a heritage. We wish Fiskars well in this endeavour," says Psaros.

Pierre de Villemejane, CEO of WWRD, adds: "KPS was the only investor that had the courage and confidence to undertake the launch of a new company in the luxury industry, founded around a group of acquired brands and assets, at the height of the global financial crisis. While KPS recognised the heritage, the legacy and the potential of our iconic brands, the success of WWRD depended on our management team's ability to execute a highly complex turnaround throughout the world. Working in partnership with KPS, we improved the profitability of WWRD relative to its predecessor by over $150 million, repositioned and contemporised our storied brands, and invested significantly in our operations and associates. We are forever grateful to KPS for its leadership and its steadfast commitment to preserving, improving and growing our business. We are thrilled to join Fiskars, which has the resources and consumer market knowledge that will enable WWRD to scale the successful platform we created."

Completion of the transaction, which is expected to occur in summer 2015, is subject to customary closing conditions.

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