An affiliate of private equity firm Blackstone has acquired jewelry retailer Diamonds Direct for an undisclosed sum.
Diamonds Direct, based in Charlotte, N.C., has an online store plus five retail locations, one each in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; Richmond, Va., and Austin, Tex. Two new sites — Oklahoma City, Okla., and Charleston, S.C. — are slated to open early next month.
The actual purchase was made by funds managed by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities. The transaction closed earlier this month.
Jasvinder Khaira, managing director of Blackstone Tactical, said, “Providing capital to entrepreneurs is a hallmark of Blackstone’s growth investments and we look forward to working with the Diamonds Direct team on their continued success and growth.”
Diamonds Direct’s chief executive officer Itay Berger said the transaction with Blackstone will enable his team to “continue to deliver unparalleled service and unbeatable prices.”
The jewelry retailer was founded by Alon Arabov, a diamond manufacturer based out of Tel Aviv, and the first retail site — selling diamonds direct to the end customer from a manufacturing facility in Israel — was opened in 1995 in Charlotte. The retailer sells loose and mounted diamonds, engagement ring settings, as well as diamond and gemstone fashion jewelry.
Blackstone has more than $330 billion in assets under management, and its investment vehicles include private equity, real estate, public debt and equity and noninvestment-grade credit.
In the fashion and retail space, Blackstone’s investments include its 2011 acquisition of German outdoor retailer Jack Wolfskin for $1 billion; a $1.43 billion deal in 2012 with DDR for a 95 percent stake in 46 open-air shopping centers from ENP Group; a $198 million investment for 200,000 shares of Crocs Inc.’s Series A Convertible Preferred Stock, and a 20 percent stake in fashion firm Gianni Versace SpA in 2014.