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Capvis buys legendary Olympic swimwear brand arena from Riverside

23 Dec 2013

arena swimwearSwiss mid-market private equity firm Capvis has bought aquatic sports brand arena, which was launched by the son of Adidas-founder Horst Dassler 40 years ago.

The company was among the first to use textile and fluid dynamics research to develop its swimsuits, and was used by Olympic greats including Mark Spitz and Alexander Popov.

Riverside hired investment banks last month to sell the Italian swimsuit maker, with Bloomberg reporting the business could be valued at €300m.

Riverside Senior Operating Partner Fabio Pesiri credited Arena’s world-class management team with helping the company thrive.

He said, “It has been wonderful to see how Arena has grown from a European leader into a global one.

“The passion and commitment from CEO Cristiano Portas and his team were instrumental in helping create a bigger and better company during our ownership period and I am confident that arena will continue its development path.”

Capvis partner Andreas Simon said, “As a global champion in its niche, arena perfectly fits the Capvis investment strategy.

“Propelled by innovation and uncompromising commitment to the sport of swimming and the brand visibility powering its surge worldwide, arena is uniquely positioned in one of the most popular sports categories. arena’s brand equity, validated from premier teams and organisations, offers significant value creation potential.

“We have followed the company and its management for years and are thrilled to power off the blocks with them, in the true sense of the word.”

Last month it emerged Capvis was preparing to break its fundraising target for the second time in a row as it neared €700m for its fourth flagship vehicle.

The firm initially hoped to collect €600m for Capvis Equity IV, but is now nearing a close €100m above that according to Bloomberg, which cited three people with knowledge of the matter.

Capvis raised €600m for its third fund in 2008, well above its €500m target.

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