MIAMI, FL – (September 12, 2011) Trivest Partners (“Trivest”), along with consumer brand executives Ron Page and Tom Seavey, today announced the successful completion of its recapitalization of Group III International, Ltd. (“Group III” or the “Company”), a rapidly growing designer and marketer of the highly recognized “Wenger, maker of the Genuine Swiss Army Knife” brand for travel/work gear including luggage, backpacks, computer bags and other accessories. Group III’s founder, Joy Tong, and John Pulichino will continue as owners of the business and lead the Company’s daily operations. Group III represents the 8th platform company investment in Trivest Fund IV, a $325 million fund.
Founded in 1984, Group III has gained significant market share in the travel/work gear category through its design expertise, strong offshore manufacturing partnerships and well defined distribution model. The Genuine Swiss Army Knife, with its signature red cross, is one of the most recognizable trademarks in the world. Since establishing this licensing relationship in 2003, the Company’s sales have grown at double digit rates in each of the last seven years. Today, the Company, headquartered in Pompano Beach, Florida, boasts a customer base that includes blue-chip retailers throughout the world.
Group III’s CEO John Pulichino stated, “Trivest set themselves apart from other potential groups due to their flexibility, integrity and experience in the industry. Our new partnership with Trivest and Tom Seavey and Ron Page will be instrumental in helping Group III successfully execute numerous strategies to build on our already strong foundation.”
Ron Page stated, “Tom and I chose to align ourselves with Trivest in the recapitalization of Group III due to their extensive experience in the consumer products arena. With the financial backing of Trivest, we believe that the team can collectively drive continued success at the Company.”
Troy Templeton, Trivest’s Managing Partner, added, “The Group III transaction follows a long list of successful consumer product investments at Trivest including Banana Boat, AeroBed, Polk Audio and Twin-Star International. We are delighted to be working with Joy Tong, John Pulichino, Ron Page and Tom Seavey. We firmly believe this team has the capabilities to significantly expand the scope and breadth of the Company’s product line.”
Trivest Fund IV and Joy Tong and John Pulichino provided equity for the transaction. Senior financing was provided by Abacus Finance and Madison Capital. Greenberg Traurig provided legal counsel to Trivest and GVC Financial Services LLC acted as the financial intermediary.
Trivest Partners is a private investment firm that focuses on partnering with founder/family owned businesses in the United States and Canada. Since its founding in 1981, Trivest has completed more than 175 transactions, totaling in excess of $4.5 billion in value. For additional information, please visit www.trivest.com.