Doughty Hanson Snags Orphaned Cendant Co. –

U.K. buyout firm Doughty Hanson & Co. this month acquired a company that organizes clubs for and markets products to hunting and fishing enthusiasts in the U.S.

Troubled services conglomerate Cendant Corp. sold North American Outdoor Group (NAOG) to Doughty Hanson for approximately $150 million in a leveraged recapitalization. Cendant will retain a 6% stake in the business.

The deal is Doughty Hanson’s second since setting up shop in the U.S. earlier this year (BUYOUTS Dec. 21, 1998, p. 1). Last quarter, the firm acquired Knowles Electronics Inc., a hearing aid and audio equipment manufacturer, for $520 million (BUYOUTS July 5, p. 4).

NAOG operates six special interest clubs, the largest of which are the North American Hunting Club and the North American Fishing Club, according to Claire Gruppo, president of Gruppo, Leavy & Co., the investment bank that advised Cendant on the deal. Other clubs target people interested in gardening, cooking, handywork and golf. Minneapolis-based NAOG’s total membership exceeds 3.6 million.

Once enthusiasts have joined a club, they are given the opportunity to buy magazine subscriptions, videos and other products from NAOG.

A source close to the deal said the firm will grow NAOG’s business by creating new clubs and through expansion abroad. Doughty Hanson has offices in London, Frankfurt, Milan, Stockholm and Warsaw. Partners at Doughty Hanson declined comment.