Clearlake buys watch retailer amid fundraise

The firm has sealed its sixth investment of 2012 by acquiring watch retailer Swiss Watch International. Clearlake is in the process of raising its third flagship fund, which has a $600m target.

Clearlake Capital Group has acquired US-based watch retailer Swiss Watch International for an undisclosed sum.

Swiss Watch is an e-commerce specialist, selling and distributing watches, accessories and apparel through a number of websites and streaming video channels. Clearlake invested in the company from multiple funds, according to a spokesperson, and plans to “deploy additional capital to consolidate the space”, founding partner Behdad Eghbali said in a statement.

GSO Capital Partners and PNC Bank provided debt financing for the transaction.

The deal marks Clearlake’s sixth investment of 2012 and comes as the firm targets $600 million for its third flagship fund, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Clearlake has fully exited three companies this year, plus an additional two partial realisations.

Limited partners in Fund III include the Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board and the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, according to data provider Private Equity Connect.

Clearlake typically invests in the business services, consumer products, retail, energy, power, industrials, technology, communications, defense, public safety, healthcare and media sectors. The firm’s investment professionals are capable of performing buyout, acquisition, carve-out, growth capital, platform, credit, recapitalisation, reorganisation and turnaround transactions, according to its website. 

Clearlake was founded in 2006 and maintains offices in Los Angeles and New York. 

In June, former Minnesota Governor and Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty joined the board of Smart Sand, a Clearlake portfolio company that provides proppant to the oil and gas industry.