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Chilewich Announces Partnership w/ Berkley Capital

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Chilewich today announced that Berkley Capital, the private equity investment vehicle of W.R. Berkley Corporation, has acquired a majority interest in the company. Founded in 2000 by designer and veteran entrepreneur Sandy Chilewich, Chilewich has grown from a pioneer of placemats to a global provider of textile products to the home furnishings, contract, hospitality and transportation markets. Architect Joe Sultan joined the company as CEO in 2001. Partnering with Berkley Capital will help fuel Chilewich’s commitment to launch design-led innovations; inspire consumers and designers to choose beautiful, durable, made-to-last products through best-in-class brand marketing; and expand the company’s national and global reach, the company said.

“More than twenty years ago, I saw unlimited opportunities for weaving with extruded yarns. I was certain not only that this humble material could be made beautiful but also that it was able to last a lifetime,” said Chilewich, founder and creative director of Chilewich. “Today you can find our products in more than one hundred countries, and many of our first customers report that their placemats are still going strong. We’re thrilled to be embarking upon this next chapter with Berkley Capital. Their proven experience will be critical as the business accelerates growth going forward.”

“As we look toward the future, our goal was to find a partner who recognized the true value of our brand and the successful business we’ve built from scratch, and that is Berkley Capital,” said Joe Sultan, Chilewich CEO. “We are very much looking forward to this exciting and expansive new chapter for the company while staying true to our commitment to original design and American craftsmanship.”

“We chose to partner with Chilewich because of its design leadership, unparalleled product performance, and strong brand recognition across markets,” said Berkley Capital president, Frank Medici. “We’re proud to support the continued expansion of this rapidly growing business, with capital as well as with our experience in supporting growth-oriented companies.”

Adds Berkley managing director Thomas Ghegan, “Sandy, Joe, and the rest of the talented leadership have built a company that is synonymous with original design and proven performance. We are excited to work with this innovation-oriented team, which is committed to realizing the tremendous potential for the Chilewich brand and its unrivaled products.”

According to the company, Berkley Capital has become the majority owner of Chilewich, and Sandy Chilewich and Joe Sultan have retained minority ownership as they continue on with the company in advisory roles across design, research, development and manufacturing.

John Edelman, former CEO of Design Within Reach, will join the Board of Chilewich, which will include Medici and Ghegan, along with Chilewich and Sultan.

According to the company, Chilewich will continue to be headquartered in New York City, where it also operates two retail stores, and maintain operations at its 127,500-square-foot manufacturing facility and warehouse in Chatsworth, Ga.

The Sage Group initiated the transaction and served as exclusive financial advisor to Chilewich, the company said, adding Troutman Pepper was legal advisor to Chilewich. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.