Clearlake Quickly Closes On Another Platform
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Clearlake Quickly Closes On Another Platform

Buy of Springs Window Fashions follows last week's acquisition of BakeMark, a California-based maker of bakery ingredients including mixes, fillings, and icings

Company-owned brand names include Bali, Graber, Horizons, SWFcontract, Mecho, Mariak, and SunSetter

SOURCE: Springs Window Fashions

Clearlake Capital has agreed to acquire Springs Window Fashions from AEA Investors and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI).

Springs Window Fashions (Springs) manufactures and sells custom and stock window coverings and drapery hardware to retail and commercial customers, as well as independent designers, franchisors and decorators.

The company’s product line includes blinds, shades, awnings, and shutters that are sold through a suite of brand names including Bali, Graber, Horizons, SWFcontract, Mecho, Mariak, and SunSetter. In Europe, the company manufactures and sells products through its B&C International division.

Springs’ history dates to 1932 (then Graber Industries) when John Graber invented the first fully adjustable drapery crane. The company was acquired by Consolidated Foods in 1967 (a year after Mr. Graber’s death) and in 1979, Spring Industries – a textile maker – purchased the company.

In 2001, Spring Industries spun off Springs to the family of Crandall Bowles, the CEO of Springs Industries, with backing from private equity firm Heartland Industrial Partners, for $905 million. Golden Gate Capital acquired Springs in 2013 from Heartland and exited the business through a sale to AEA and BCI in 2018. As an aside, Heartland was founded in 1999 by former Reagan budget director and Blackstone partner David Stockman. In 2001, the firm closed its first and only fund with $1.4 billion of capital.

Today, Springs – led by CEO Eric Jungbluth and headquartered near Madison in Middleton, Wisconsin – has over 9,000 employees located at nine North American facilities.

“Today marks an important new chapter for Springs as we look to continue to build on our extensive recent investments behind our market-leading brands and become the market leader in the markets and channels we serve,” said Mr. Jungbluth. “Clearlake is the ideal partner for our future given their deep understanding of our core brands, specialty manufacturing footprint, channel investment, and technology offerings, all of which are critical to the company’s future success.”

“We have long admired Springs and could not be more thrilled to partner with Eric and his talented team to take this company to the next level and help build the clear global leader in the sector,” said José Feliciano, a co-founder and managing partner at Clearlake. “Springs is an exciting addition to our portfolio given the compelling intersection among Clearlake’s experience in specialty building products, consumer brands, technology solutions, and specialty manufacturing.”

Clearlake invests in industrials and energy; software and technology-enabled services; and consumer sectors. The firm was co-founded by Mr. Feliciano and Behdad Eghbali in 2006 and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with an additional office in Dallas, Texas. In April 2020, Clearlake held a hard cap and oversubscribed final close of its sixth private equity fund, Clearlake Capital Partners VI LP, with more than $7 billion in commitments.

Just last week, Clearlake agreed to acquire BakeMark, a California-based maker of bakery ingredients and supplies including mixes, fillings, and icings, from Pamplona Capital. BakeMark has 5 manufacturing facilities, 29 distribution centers, and approximately 1,000 employees.

AEA invests across three sectors – value-added industrials, consumer, and services – and has 70 investment professionals at its headquarters in New York City with additional offices in Connecticut, London, Munich, and Shanghai. AEA was founded in 1968 by the Rockefeller, Mellon, and Harriman family interests and S.G. Warburg & Co.

BCI is one of Canada’s largest institutional investors with managed net assets of C$200 billion as of March 2021. The firm’s clients include public sector pension plans, public trusts, and insurance funds and it invests across all major asset classes including private equity. BCI is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia.

Deutsche Bank Securities is the lead financial advisor to Springs and J.P. Morgan advised Clearlake and provided committed debt financing to support the transaction.

The acquisition of Springs by Clearlake is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | July 29, 2021

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