Monomoy serves up dinnerware deal

The firm, in the first acquisition from its second fund, has acquired dinnerware designer and distributer Oneida, an iconic brand the firm hopes will prove popular with consumers in emerging markets.

Monomoy Capital Partners hopes to capitalise on its investment in dinnerware designer Oneida by introducing the popular US brand to consumers in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America.

Monomoy acquired Oneida for an undisclosed amount in the first deal from its second fund, which closed on $350 million last year. The firm had not activated the fund until this month because it was investing remaining capital from its debut fund. Also, the firm held off on deals earlier this year as prices rose to unattractive levels, according to Dan Collin, a partner with Monomoy.

“We’re patient and disciplined investors,” Collin told Private Equity International in an interview. “At the beginning of this year, expectations from sellers and the prices others were willing to pay for investments did not align with our view of the world.

“We’re optimistic that we will be able to put a meaningful amount of capital to work,” Collin said.

At the beginning of this year, expectations from sellers and the prices others were willing to pay for investments did not align with our view of the world.

Dan Collin

Oneida was founded in 1880, and designs and distributes flatware and dinnerware to retailers and the foodservice industry. The company’s full product line includes stainless and silverplated flatware, as well as products for baking, crystal and cutlery and kitchen utensils. Oneida filed for bankruptcy in 2006 after failing to slim down its debt load in a restructuring.

Monomoy will pair Oneida with its portfolio company, The Anchor Hocking Group, which it purchased out of bankruptcy in 2007. Anchor Hocking also designs, builds and distributes tabletop glassware products.

“We always viewed Oneida as a logical investment to leverage off the experience we had at Anchor [Hocking],” Collin said. The companies will continue to operate as standalone businesses and there are no plans to “formally consolidate them”, Collin said.

The firm hopes to expand the brand into emerging markets, where consumers may be attracted to such a well-known product name, Collin said. The visibility of the name will also help the business prosper even in the slow markets, despite the struggles of retailers in general.

“The consumer market post-recession has been challenging,” Collin said. “There are a handful of classic brands that have meaningful distribution that the consumer trusts and is willing to buy their product.”