Riverside’s private equity

Press Release

Riverside Acquires Leading International Waterwear Brand Arena From BS Private Equity October 01, 2010

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High-profile acquisition is Riverside’s first deal with Italian focus

The Riverside Company, the largest global private equity firm investing in companies with enterprise values up to €200 million, announces its first deal in Italy with the acquisition from the Italian fund BS Private Equity of 100% of the Arena Group (Arena), a worldwide player in the competitive waterwear segment, with 2009 net sales of roughly €100 million.

This is Riverside’s 14th acquisition in 2010 and is part of the Riverside Europe Fund IV (REF IV). The team responsible for the transaction included Partners Tomasz Glowacki and Kai Köppen, Vice President Dr. Michael Weber and Associate Sven-Hendrik Schulze. Ivica Turza, Vice President, originated the deal.

Since its establishment in 1988, Riverside has completed 237 acquisitions representing a total enterprise value in the range of €4.4 billion. As of today, Riverside’s global portfolio consists of 72 companies with aggregate net sales above € 2.5 billion.

Cristiano Portas, CEO of Arena Group, and Arena’s top management team confirmed their commitment to the company by re-investing alongside Riverside in the new venture.

Arena products are distributed in over 100 countries worldwide, including those managed by the Descente Group based in Japan, the trademark owner for the Far East. Established by sports visionary Horst Dassler in 1973, Arena is well known for its focus and product innovation and technological skill, which are the key drivers for its competitive advantage and business growth.

Throughout its history, Arena has been a partner to legendary champions, such as Mark Spitz, Shane Gould, Matt Biondi, Alexander Popov, Franziska Van Almsick, Aaron Peirsol, Filippo Magnini, Laure Manadou, Laszlo Cseh, Paul Biedermann, Alain Bernard, Kirsty Coventry, Rebecca Soni and Cesar Cielo, to name just a few.

The Arena research and development team works with a fully integrated network of scientific partners and best-of-breed fabric manufacturers to develop breakthrough technologies applicable to racing swimwear and equipment.

“We are extremely satisfied for the business and financial results achieved by Arena over the last four years” said Alessandra Gavirati, Partner at BS Private Equity.

“We are very thankful to BS Private Equity for the strong support given to Arena in the development of the brand and the business,”said Cristiano Portas, Arena Group CEO. “We are also extremely confident towards the future, as we truly believe that Riverside will be an outstanding partner, able to support Arena in its further growth aiming at becoming the global leader in the waterwear sports market.”

“Arena is an attractive investment opportunity for Riverside thanks to its strong brand position, its image among top athletes and millions of water sport lovers all over the world, a very successful track record, and a huge growth potential,” said Tomasz Glowacki, Riverside Partner.

Riverside’s advisors on the transaction were:

  • Legance (Bruno Bartocci, Piero Venturini and Guido Iannoni; Legal Counsel and Due Diligence)
  • Roland Berger (Philip Beil and Pierpaolo Mamone; Commercial Due Diligence)
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (Federico Mussi and Emanuela Petteno; Financial Due Diligence)
  • Deloitte (Thomas Vana; Tax Structuring)
  • Studio Pirola Pennuto Zei & Associati (Andrea Vaglié and Andrea Alberico; Tax Due Diligence)
  • Finanziaria Internazionale (Alessandro Bartolini; M&A and Debt Advisor)
  • UniCredit Corporate & Investment Banking (Giovanni Pietro Rota Graziosi; M&A and Debt Co-Advisor) One of the two main co-investors for this deal alongside Riverside was UniCredit. UniCredit and Banca IMI acted as joint mandated lead arrangers, underwriters and bookrunners of the debt financing; GE Capital joined as mandated lead arranger. Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna joined as lender in the financing. Unicredit is also Facility/Security Agent. Linklaters provided legal counsel to the debt providers.

BS Private Equity advisors on the transaction were:

  • Morgan Stanley (Luca Pietrantoni), as exclusive financial advisor
  • Studio Pavesi Gitti Verzoni (Carlo Pavesi and Francesco Selogna), legal counsel and legal due diligence
  • Deloitte Financial Services (Raoul Vitulo and Mauro Pizzileo) and Studio Tributario e Societario (Francesco Saltarelli), accounting and fiscal vendor due diligence
  • Bain & Co (Alberto Regazzo), commercial due diligence

The Riverside Company (http://www.riversideeurope.com)

The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm focused on acquiring growing enterprises valued at up to $200 million/€200 million, partnering with strong management teams, and enhancing its investments through acquisitions and organic growth. Since its founding in 1988, the firm has invested in 237 transactions with a total enterprise value of more than $5.4 billion/€4.4 billion. The firm’s portfolio in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region includes 72 companies with roughly 14,000 employees. Riverside completes acquisitions smoothly thanks to $3.4 billion/€2.7 billion in assets under management, more than 195 professionals in 19 offices, and longstanding relationships with partner lenders.

Arena (http://www.arenainternational.com)

Since 1973, Arena creates and markets waterwear products for competitive swimmers and swim-fans and it is recognised as one of the premium brands for high quality swimwear and equipment. Over the last 37 years, the Company has developed a strong expertise in developing best in class products with particular focus on Pool Swimming, while also gradually expanding into the Leisure/Beach segment. The genuine liaison of Arena to the world of sport and in particular to swimming competitions is enhanced by sponsoring activities at different levels, including governing bodies, national federations, athletes and clubs. Arena is title sponsor of the FINA - ARENA Swimming World Cup, historic partner of the LEN (Ligue Europeenne de Natation), and technical sponsor and official supplier to many swimming Federations such as Russia, Germany (pool sponsor), Hungary, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Norway, South Africa, New Zealand, Ukraine, Romania and Czech Republic. The Arena Elite Team of international swimming stars, includes Champions such as Cesar Cielo, Kirsty Coventry, Alain Bernard, Rebecca Soni, Laszlo Cseh, Francesca Halsall, Milorad Cavic, Therese Alshammar, Alexander Dale Oen, Julya Efimova, Cameron Van Der Burgh, Sarah Sjoestroem, Eric Shanteau, Anastasia Zueva, Oussama Mellouli, Lotte Friis, Paul Biedermann, Inge Dekker, Daniel Gyurta, Hannah Miley, Aaron Peirsol and many others.

BS Private Equity

BS Private Equity is one of the leading private equity firms in Italy, investing in manufacturing and service companies. It arranges management buy-outs and buy-ins, with the goal of assisting experienced executives who are eager to become entrepreneurs. It provides the capital that unlisted companies need to grow both internally and externally. BS Private Equity is owned by its partners and manages, through BS Investimenti SGR S.p.A., BS Investimenti IV, a €550m mid-market fund focused on Italy.

Media Contact

Stephanie Fraser
Marketing Consultant
The Riverside Company
Cleveland: +1 216 344 1267
London: +44 20 3077 1923