Greek-American Michael Psaros, co-Founder and Managing Partner of the private equity firm KPS Capital Partners has a lot to be happy about these days. Back in 2009, KPS announced that it would purchase the luxury home-goods maker Waterford Wedgwood – a poorly-performing company at the time. As Fortune magazine describes it, the deal didn’t make much sense back then.
Waterford was losing about $100 million per year, but as Psaros told Fortune, “we’ve been doing professional turnarounds for 25 years.” The parent company KPS created, WWRD holdings, will be sold to Fiskars, a Finnish consumer products company for $437 million – which translates to a 400% return on investment for KPS.
How did they know? “What we knew was that [Waterford Wedgewood] had four legendary and iconic brands, including selling product in 80 countries,” Psaros told Fortune. “Waterford is a household name in the U.S. but, globally, Wedgwood is magic. If we could figure out how to design and make the products profitably, then we could really do something.”
“It has been the most dramatic turnaround of our careers,” Psaros told Fortune. “To us this wasn’t just a deal or investment… it was something we lived for six years, and now believe it’s going to a very good home.”