Fortunoff Sells Majority Stake, Looking to Expand

November 17, 2004

Fortunoff Sells Majority Stake, Looking to Expand

Fortunoff, retailer of fine jewelry and home furnishings in the New York City area, announced Nov. 16 it agreed to a recapitalization transaction with Trimaran Capital Partners and K Group, both of New York City. Terms were not disclosed.

The partnership, which will be completed in December, will allow the Fortunoff and Mayrock families to continue in their present leadership roles in the 82-year-old company, and will provide Fortunoff with capital for expansion of its operations, currently in New York and New Jersey.The company is valued at $280 million, The New York Times reported.

Louis Fortunoff, executive vice president of Fortunoff, said, "Our family has built the company over 80 years. To take it to the next level, we needed a partner who can provide capital and can mesh with our culture. Trimaran understands our corporate culture, and is committed to our business plan, which includes significant expansion. They also have a great track record of building successful businesses in a broad range of industries, including retail. Our decision ensures that a new generation of Fortunoff family members will continue to make important contributions to retailing."

Dean Kehler, managing partner of Trimaran, called Fortunoff a "category killer" in selling jewelry and items for the home. "They offer superb value and service to their customers; they dominate lifestyle categories such as jewelry, domestics and outdoor furniture with a combination of quality, style and price," he said. "We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the company and the family, and to provide the capital for them to expand, first within their markets, and eventually into other parts of the U.S."

Fortunoff spokesman Gary Lewi told the Sun-Sentinel of southern Florida that any place with a large population of former New Yorkers could be an option." One could speculate that Florida could be a location," he said.

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