William Blair & Company acted as exclusive financial advisor to Waterworks, Inc. in the sale of substantially all of its assets to an affiliate of Design Investors, LLC, pursuant to a §363 sale.
Waterworks, a Danbury, Connecticut-based designer, marketer, and retailer of high-end bath fixtures, fittings, and furnishings, initially retained William Blair & Company in December 2008 to explore a sale of the company. The sale process was put on hold in March 2009, however, because of Waterworks’ continued negative operating performance and pressure from lenders. Waterworks reached an agreement with Design Investors, an investment firm dedicated to growing design-driven businesses, to refinance Waterworks’ debt, provide debtor-in-possession financing, and act as a stalking horse bidder in connection with a §363 auction of the Waterworks' assets.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, Waterworks retained William Blair & Company to conduct an expedited 60-day sales process. Design Investors was named the winning bidder at the end of the sale process, during which William Blair & Company contacted 95 potential buyers. One of the primary reasons the bankruptcy court approved the sale was William Blair & Company’s ability to aggressively and comprehensively market Waterworks in a compressed time period.
"Now that the financial restructuring and transaction have been completed, Waterworks can focus solely on its heritage of leadership in products and client service," said Design Investors founder and partner Peter Sallick. "I am extremely grateful to the people at the company who worked so hard during this difficult process to make our future possible."
William Blair & Company's Corporate Finance team consisted of Tim Carroll, Geoff Richards, Michael Siska, Joseph Greenwood, Mariano Gonzalez, and Sarah Miller, with assistance from Chris Spahr and Jon Skinner. It was William Blair & Company’s second transaction in 2009 (the other being Robbins Bros.) where the firm has assisted a retailer exiting bankruptcy protection as a going concern.
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.William Blair & Company’s Special Situations & Restructuring Group