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Design Investors Aquires Waterworks

DANBURY, CT - Design Investors LLC, a leading investment firm dedicated to growing design-driven businesses, announces today the completed acquisition of the national luxury furnishings brand Waterworks.

The move was led by Design Investors' Founder and Partner Peter Sallick and Partner Meg Touborg. Sallick will take on management responsibilities as CEO (he formerly served 13 years as Waterworks CEO through 2006). Waterworks now joins other leading brands in the design marketplace, Twill Textiles and Rose Tarlow-Melrose House, to form the balance of the Design Investors portfolio.

"Now that the financial restructuring and transaction have been completed, Waterworks can focus solely on its heritage of leadership in products and client service," says Sallick. "I am extremely grateful to the people at the company who worked so hard during this difficult process to make our future possible."

The acquisition followed a successful two-month reorganization of the Waterworks business after the former company filing of a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code—coincident with the bid by Design Investors and their related round of financing and purchase of Waterworks' debt—means that the Waterworks business will continue as a new entity, outside of bankruptcy.

The swift acquisition by Design Investors reflects the soundness of Waterworks' performance—and the strength of the resultant new entity and its long-term business proposition. Over the two-month period, Waterworks used the reorganization to sharpen its focus on its main tenets: flagship showrooms, great products, and exceptional customer service. The restructuring entailed closing Waterworks showrooms in secondary locations—enabling a concentration of resources in larger markets, in the commercial market, and in product development—and included the retention of key sales consultants to act as outside representatives, creating a new channel of distribution and furthering a planned expansion of sales to third-party partners.

The result is a powerful new model that Waterworks focused on: core clients in the true flagship areas; future expansion into a broader geography by way of enhanced distribution; and increased product development and innovation.

All Waterworks business operations—including honoring all new and existing client orders—functioned without interruption throughout the acquisition. At the same time, the successful restructuring and financial resources made available by Design Investors has resulted in a healthy balance-sheet. All operating expenses to meet supplier, customer, and employee commitments are funded and substantial resources are available to move forward and expand.

Barbara and Robert Sallick founded Waterworks in 1978. The family sold the company in 2005.

Waterworks has a presence in key markets across North America through showrooms, wholesale, commercial, and direct-to-consumer channels.

Design Investors LLC was established with a singular objective: to support the growth and profitability of the design industry's most promising product, business service, and media companies. The firm partners with founders and management teams of portfolio companies to infuse creativity with capital, and reinforce business plans with an extensive resource network and many years of relevant management experience. Appreciating the unique vision and opportunities available to each investment, Design Investors works side-by-side with companies to maximize value through building market leadership positions.

Inspired by the rich history of the European bath, Waterworks has brought impeccable style and artisanal quality craftsmanship to the American bathroom since 1978. Co-founded by Barbara and Robert Sallick, the brand's evolution is based firmly upon a foundation and commitment to design excellence. Each Waterworks product has a story to tell and is created through a unique collaboration involving designers, craftsmen, artisans and manufacturers. Highly regarded as a premier design resource, its exclusive designs now encompass bath and kitchen faucets, surfaces, bathtubs, washstands, accessories, home furnishings and more. Waterworks has presence in key markets across North America through showrooms, wholesale, commercial, and direct-to-consumer channels.

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