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LA-based Clearlake invests in Swiss Watch International

20 Dec 2012

Los Angeles-based special situations investor Clearlake Capital has bought Swiss Watch International (SWI), an online retailer of watches, accessories, and apparel.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hollwood-based SWI sells its products through a portfolio of websites, which include WorldofWatches.com, eWatches.com, TheWatchery.com, and SmartBargains.com.

The company also supplies to large online retailers, marketplaces, streaming video and social commerce channels, private sales sites, daily deal sites, and other channels.

“Swiss Watch International is the clear market leader with an exceptional executive team that has an impressive track record of merchandising, distribution and online retailing capabilities,” Clearlake founding partner Behdad Eghbali said in a statement.

Eghbali said the firm will deploy additional capital to consolidate the space, with plans to work closely with management to grow the business.

Eghbali and Arta Tabaee of Clearlake, Clearlake’s executive operating partners, Neel Grover and Greg Giraudi, have joined the SWI board of directors.

Grover and Giraudi bring a significant amount of eCommerce experience to SWI, having most recently served as chief executive officer and chief operating officer respectively of Japanese online retail giant Rakuten Buy.com.

Debt financing was provided by GSO Capital Partners and PNC Bank.

Blackstone Advisory Partners served as financial advisors to SWI, while Moelis & Co served as financial advisors to Clearlake.

Clearlake is currently in the market with its third fund, a $600m vehicle with a $750m hard cap that already counts New York State Teachers’ Retirement System and Los Angeles County Employees’ Retirement Association among its investors.

Blackstone fund advisory arm Park Hill Group is acting as a placement agent for Clearlake Capital Partners III .

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