Doughty Hanson buys US brand for $276m

London-based private equity firm Doughty Hanson has acquired New York-based Tumi, an international luggage brand, from US private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management for $276m.

Tumi, a NewYork-based international brand selling upmarket luggage, business cases, bags and accessories, has been acquired by Doughty Hanson in a $276 million (€225 million) secondary buyout from Oaktree Capital Management of the US. Oaktree had acquired a majority stake in the business in September 2002. 

In a statement, Doughty said it had acquired a majority stake in Tumi, while the Tumi management team was also participating in the transaction. Royal Bank of Scotland is underwriting debt finance for the deal, which is expected to complete in November 2004 following regulatory approval. Deutsche Bank Securities advised Tumi.  

Doughty will attempt to replicate its previous two successes in the high-profile brand sector, when it floated Tag Heuer and Umbro on the Zurich and London stock exchanges respectively.

Founded in 1975, Tumi focuses its luggage and business accessory products on professionals and frequent travellers who are highly brand-conscious. The firm has 23 stores in the US including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, as well as flagship international stores in Paris and Tokyo.

Doughty says it will work closely with chief executive Laurence Franklin and Tumi management to increase the firm’s retail presence and grow its stores across Europe, the Far East and the US.

The acquisition is the fourth from Doughty’s latest private equity fund, Doughty Hanson & Co IV, following Saft, a French industrial battery business; Balta, a Belgian rug and carpet manufacturer; and ATU, a German car parts and service provider.

The Doughty Hanson IV fund posted a first closing on €700 million in September 2003, and is aiming to raise €3 billion. Following the latest deal, the firm said it had now committed €485 million in total to IV fund portfolio companies.