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US private equity firms exit hot tubs maker Jacuzzi

A trio of US private equity majors, including Apollo Global Management, have sold the parent firm of Jacuzzi to an Italian investment group called Investindustrial.

The financial terms of the deal, subject to the customary regulatory approval process, is expected to be completed by the end of March.

Apollo originally bought Jacuzzi Brands in 2007. At the time, Jacuzzi Brands owned sinks and taps maker Astracast, but that brand was sold to Maltese investment company, HLD, in 2012, and then to current owner Darren Cooper.

Jacuzzi Brands, founded in 1956, owns a number of luxury spa, soaker and walk-in bath brands besides Jacuzzi, including Hydropool and ThermoSpas.

Investindustrial, which has a portfolio of €6.8 billion (£5.95bn) of investments in mid-sized firms, has invited US product design firm Nottingham Spirk Design Associates, to co-invest in Jacuzzi Brands as a minority shareholder to support product innovation.

Investindustrial said it has experience in the high end of the home products segment through its investments in luxury Italian furniture brand B&B Italia and premium lighting group Louis Poulsen.

It said Jacuzzi Brands will have access to Investindustrial’s relationships, including world-class designers to accelerate the company’s growth through innovation, product development and research and development.

Andrea Bonomi, Investindustrial’s chairman of the industrial advisory board, said Jacuzzi Brands had “significant untapped potential” and was “excited to contribute” to its next phase of growth.

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“We are delighted to welcome Jacuzzi to join our portfolio of investments in premium brands.

“Investindustrial has enjoyed success in supporting businesses with iconic brands operating in the home design sector. Jacuzzi Brands is a company with Italian heritage and is a globally recognised brand with a quality management team.

“We are excited about the opportunity to contribute to Jacuzzi Brands’ next phase of development.”

Bob Rowan, Jacuzzi Brands chief executive, said, “I am extremely happy about the acquisition of Jacuzzi Brands by Investindustrial.

“Their expertise in growing premium brands, combined with the product development resources of Nottingham Spirk, makes this a perfect match to ensure a bright future for our valued customers and dedicated employees.”

Charles Huebner, most recently chief executive of premium US kitchen appliance firm Dacor, will take up the post of executive chairman of Jacuzzi Brands.

He said: “Investindustrial’s success in supporting management teams and building premium brands will be crucial in consolidating our presence in North America and Europe and expanding into new markets.

“Nottingham Spirk will help the company develop innovative new products that best meet consumer needs. Our new ownership will provide significant resources to invest behind our dealer partners with new marketing programmes.”

Jacuzzi Brands generated revenues of about $500 million (£386m) in the 2018 fiscal year. It has its main European manufacturing facility in north-eastern Italy.

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