NEW YORK, December 18, 2006 – MidOcean Partners (MidOcean) and Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. (BRS), two premier private equity firms, today announced the recapitalization of totes»Isotoner Corporation, a leading designer and marketer of branded functional accessories whose cold weather products, footwear, rainwear, and sunglasses are readily recognized throughout North America and Europe.
Upon completion of the transaction, MidOcean will own a majority stake in the company. BRS, an existing investor, and the current totes»Isotoner senior management team will continue to maintain a significant ownership position in the company.
Founded in 1923, totes»Isotoner today is a clear leader in brand awareness and recognition within the multi-billion functional accessories market. The company’s gloves, hats, scarves, umbrellas, slippers, and other products are marketed under the totes, Isotoner, Raines and ESNY names and are sold in more than 5,000 major department stores, mass merchants, drug stores, and specialty retailers in North America, the U.K. and France. The company also operates a network of over 100 owned outlet mall-based stores.
“totes»Isotoner fits squarely within our investment philosophy of investing in leading, high quality consumer brands with exceptionally strong management teams,” said Rob Sharp, a Managing Director at MidOcean. “We are very excited about this investment in a premier branded accessories business in North America which has the potential to become a truly dominant portfolio of global brands. There are tremendous growth opportunities to leverage these household brand names and we look forward to working with Doug Gernert and his senior management team and the team at BRS to capitalize on the company’s numerous opportunities.”
Thomas J. Baldwin, Managing Director of BRS, said, “We have been very pleased with the totes»Isotoner management team and the company’s strong performance since our initial investment in 2004. The company is well positioned to capitalize on the projected growth in the functional accessories category and we look forward to working with our new partners at MidOcean to realize the unique growth potential of these brands around the world and capitalize on the projected growth of the functional accessories category.”
Doug Gernert, who has led the totes»Isotoner management team for more than 10 years and will continue as President and Chief Executive Officer and also assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors, said, “We have made tremendous progress over the past few years as we enhanced the company’s sales and profitability. Our goal is to provide retailers with a single point of contact for their accessories needs and we will continue to leverage our strong relationships with existing customers to broaden our line and brand extensions, expand into new retail channels and expand internationally by building on our strong position in the U.K. and France.”
Mr. Gernert will work closely with MidOcean and BRS to identify selective add-on acquisitions. totes»Isotoner recently expanded its line of footwear products with the acquisition in October of ESNY, a leading supplier of sandals, flip-flops and slippers.
Credit Suisse advised totes»Isotoner and will provide financing for the transaction. Kirkland & Ellis LLP provided legal counsel to MidOcean and Dechert LLP provided legal counsel to BRS.
BRS, founded in 1995 and headquartered in New York, specializes in management buyouts and recapitalizations of high quality, middle market companies with strong market positions and/or growth potential. BRS currently manages approximately $1.2 billion of committed capital in two institutional private equity funds. The principals of BRS have worked together since the mid-1980s (originally at Citicorp Venture Capital) and have collectively invested in over 60 companies with a total value in excess of $12.6 billion. BRS currently has investments focused predominantly in the consumer products and services areas.
MidOcean Partners is a premier private equity firm focused on the middle market. Based in New York and London, MidOcean is committed to investing in high quality companies with stable market positions and multiple opportunities for growth in the United States and Europe. Targeted sectors include consumer and leisure, media and communications, business and financial services and industrials. MidOcean utilizes a broad foundation of expertise in its focus industries and its transatlantic platform to create value for its investors and partners.