(Carlyle) March 2, 2012 – Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group today announced it has acquired an 85% ownership stake in Ri Happy, Brazil’s largest retail toy chain with 114 stores in 18 Brazilian states and around 2,300 employees. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We are pleased to form this partnership with Ri Happy founders Ricardo Sayon and Roberto Saba and believe it will generate positive results for the company. This is a segment with significant growth potential in Brazil. Over the next three years, we intend to invest 200 million BRL in the company,” said Juan Carlos Felix, Managing Director for Carlyle in Brazil. Mr. Felix added, “Our investment in the Ri Happy chain demonstrates Carlyle’s commitment to Brazil, expanding our footprint throughout the country.”
Ri Happy was founded in 1988 by Mr. Sayon. Mr. Saba joined the business shortly afterwards and together they built the biggest selling toy chain in the country by partnering with national and international manufacturers, offering a wide range of products and focusing on high quality customer service and attractive prices.
“This is an important step for the company. We began with small steps, have reached a large size and now need a partner to continue our growth. With Carlyle’s support we expect a further jump in sales, customer service quality and improved relationships with partners, including suppliers, franchisees, shopping centers and our employees,” said Ricardo Sayon.
Mr. Sayon will serve on the company’s Board of Directors alongside senior Carlyle executives. Héctor Núñez will become CEO having previously led Walmart in Brazil from 2006 to 2010.
“I am excited to join this project. We will use the company’s record of achievements as a foundation to take the company to the next level of market penetration and customer satisfaction, offering a unique approach to sales and customer service,” said Mr. Núñez.
Equity for this investment comes from Carlyle South America Buyout Partners, a $1 billion fund advised by Carlyle’s team of professionals based in Sao Paulo.
In Brazil, Carlyle also holds a majority stake in CVC, the tourism operator, Qualicorp, the health plan broker and administrator, and Scalina, a lingerie manufacturer and retailer.