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An Affiliate of Sun European Partners Acquires German Retail Chain Strauss Innovation from Eqt Opportunity

Continued focus on growth of the business under new ownership

LONDON, UK Sun European Partners, LLP (“Sun European Partners”), the European adviser to Sun Capital Partners, Inc., announces that one of its affiliates has reached an agreement to acquire shares in German retail chain Strauss Innovation (“Strauss”) from The EQT Opportunity Fund (“EQT Opportunity”). The Geringhoff family will also sell its stake. The value of the transaction is undisclosed.
Strauss is a private–label retail chain with approximately 100 stores in Germany and around 1,100 employees. The business has strong customer loyalty and is well known for its innovative assortment concept, combining interior decor with women’s and men’s apparel.

EQT Opportunity acquired Strauss in 2008 and has since executed a thorough restructuring process including a brand repositioning and the closing down of non–profitable stores. The restructuring has resulted in a turn–around and Strauss was transformed from a loss–making business in 2008 to one which is expected to generate profits for the full–year 2011. Revenues for 2010 amounted to almost EUR 170 million.

Strauss is now focused on pursuing its strategy of profitable and accelerated growth. The launch of its online shop in 2010 was followed by the opening of two new stores in Hannover and the re–opening of the Bonn store in 2011. Additional store openings as well as the refurbishment and modernisation of the existing store portfolio are planned for 2012.

Sun European Partners has significant retail and branded retail experience and counts among its affiliated portfolio companies a number of other leading businesses including neckermann.de, the multi–channel direct marketer; V&D, the largest department store chain in The Netherlands; Irisa Group (formerly Alexon), a UK ladies clothing retailer; DBApparel, a market leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of branded intimate apparel; and Scotch & Soda, a designer, marketer, wholesaler and retailer of contemporary casual apparel.

“Strauss is a distinct German retail format with great tradition, a loyal customer base and an exciting product portfolio. With our experience in the retail sector, Strauss represents a significant opportunity for sustainable growth. We look forward to working with the management team to achieve that”, says Benjamin Buerstedde, Vice President of Sun European Partners.

“After a successful turn–around, Strauss has a strong footprint and great opportunities for growth. Sun European Partners has vast experience of the retail sector and is well established globally. They possess a keen understanding of Strauss’ unique lifestyle concept and business model and we are confident that they will be able to develop the company even further,” says Karsten Thiel, Chairman of Strauss and member of the EQT Industrial Network.
The transaction is subject to approval from antitrust authorities and is expected to be concluded during the first quarter of 2012.

About Sun European Partners, LLP
Sun European Partners, LLP is the European adviser to Sun Capital Partners, Inc., a leading U.S.–based private investment firm focused on leveraged buyouts, equity, debt, and other investments in market–leading companies that can benefit from its in–house operating professionals and experience. Affiliates of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. have invested in over 275 companies worldwide with combined sales in excess of $40 billion since the inception of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. in the U.S. in 1995. Sun Capital Partners, Inc. has offices in Boca Raton, Los Angeles, and New York, as well as affiliates in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Luxembourg, Shanghai and Shenzhen. For more information, please visit www.SunEuropeanPartners.com

About EQT
EQT is the leading private equity group in Northern Europe with close to EUR 18 billion in raised capital and multiple investment strategies. Together with a superior network of Industrial Advisors, EQT implements its business concept by acquiring or financing good medium–sized to large companies in Northern and Eastern Europe, Asia and the United States, developing them into leading companies. Development is achieved by applying an industrial strategy with focus on growth. Since inception, EQT has invested EUR 10.5 billion in more than 100 companies and exited close to 50. EQT–owned companies have more than 550,000 employees.

EQT Partners, acting as investment advisor to the managers of each EQT fund, around 120 investment professionals with an extensive industrial and financial competence. EQT Partners has offices in Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Oslo, London, Munich, New York, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Warsaw and Zurich.