NY-based buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice says it has agreed to buy control of the Conshohocken-based, 300-store chain David's Bridal Inc., which calls itself the largest bridal-gown and accessories retailer in the U.S. The current owner, Leonard Green & Partners, of Los Angeles, will remain as a minority investor. The buyer said the deal values David's at $1.05 billion. (Revised)
In this statement, Clayton Dublier partner Richard J. Schnall said he wants David's "to grow in new market segments, channels, and geographies." The firm named ex-GAP and Disney executive Paul Pressler, a Clayton Dubilier partner, as David's chairman once the deal closes, which is supposed to happen late this year.
David's boss Robert D. Huth said Clayton would "accelerate our growth strategies." The firm currently sells dresses licensed by the Vera Wang, Oleg Cassini and Galina studios and under its own house brands and works with a network of local wedding service vendors.
The chain was founded in the early 1990s by real estate investor Steve Erlbaum of Ardmore and his partners, who took it public in 1999 and sold it to the May's (later Federated) department store group for $401.5 million in 2000.
In 2006, Federated sold David's, along with another chain, Priscilla of Boston, to the Leonard Green firm, for a total of $750 million. At the time David's had 269 stores and employed nearly 500 at its Conshohocken offices and a warehouse in Bristol, Bucks County.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch leads a group of Wall St banks funding the deal. New York law firms advised the buyers and sellers.