Thomas H. Lee buys controlling stake in Party City

AP News
Posted: Jun 05, 2012 12:04 PM
Thomas H. Lee buys controlling stake in Party City

Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP is buying a majority stake in party supplies company Party City Holdings Inc. in a recapitalization deal valued at $2.69 billion.

Privately held Party City had filed paperwork for an initial public offering in April 2011, but it appears that it may now stay private instead.

Thomas H. Lee Partners did not disclose exactly what percentage of Party City it will own. It also did not specify what the company's existing owners _ which include Party City management and private equity firms Advent International Corp., Berkshire Partners LLC and Weston Presidio _ would hold, only saying that it would be "significant" minority stakes.

The most recent IPO-related filing for Party City came last month. In it, the Elmsford, N.Y. company discloses plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the "PRTY" ticker symbol. The company did not say how many shares it planned to offer or what they would likely be priced at.

Party City's fiscal 2011 net income rose to $76.3 million from $49.3 million, while revenue increased to $1.87 billion from $1.6 billion.

The Party City announcement comes a week after Thomas H. Lee Partners said it purchased steakhouse operator Fogo de Chao Churrascaria LLC from GP Investments for an undisclosed sum. That deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Thomas H. Lee Partners was also one of three big-name private equity firms, along with Bain Capital Partners and Carlyle Group that owned Dunkin' Brands prior to its initial public offering in July.

Party City, founded in 1947, has about 825 superstores and 400 temporary Halloween shops. It also offers its products in more than 40,000 retailers worldwide.