Retail-focused PE firm to buy Container Store

US retailer The Container Store has agreed to be sold to Los Angeles-based Leonard Green & Partners.

Middle-market private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners will acquire The Container Store, a US chain that began reviewing “strategic alternatives” in February. Set to close next month, terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Leonard Green and The Container Store did not immediately return requests for comment.

The deal allows management to remain in control and includes employee-equity participation, Kip Tindell, The Container Store’s chief executive officer and co-chairman, said in a statement.

“We don’t look at this like we’re buying and they are selling,” Jon Sokoloff, managing partner at Leonard Green, said in a statement. “We see it as The Container Store bringing in a financial partner that will assist them in continuing to run their business in the principled and trailblazing way they have over the last 29 years.”

The Container Store currently has 39 locations and expects its 2007 sales to reach approximately $600 million (€441 million). The private company says its sales have experienced an average annual increase of 15 to 20 percent.

JPMorgan was The Container Store’s financial advisor and Cravath, Swaine and Moore was its legal advisor.
Based in Los Angeles, Leonard Green is an 18-year-old firm with more than $9 billion under management. Its recent retail deals include the $1.3 billion take-private of sporting goods chain The Sports Authority, and the $1.8 billion purchase of pet supply chain Petco, on which it partnered with TPG. It typically makes controlling investments in middle market firms in the retail, consumer products, distribution, media, business services and healthcare sectors.