Bear Stearns in another retail buyout

Bear Stearns Merchant Banking has gone back to retail for its latest deal, acquiring Transamerican Auto Parts Co.

New York-based Bear Stearns Merchant Banking has cinched another retail buyout, acquiring Transamerican Auto Parts Co. for an undisclosed price.

Transamerican is a manufacturer and retailer of specialty after-market parts and accessories for light trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Bear Stearns is well-versed in the retail and consumer space. Previous investments for the group include deals in clothier New York & Co., gourmet-food market Sutton Place Group and nutritional product retailer Vitamin Shoppe Industries. Most recently, the firm bought a stake in women’s handbag and shoe maker Stuart Weitzman Holdings.

Greg Adler, the president and chief executive of Transamerican, lauded the firm’s background in a statement, saying, “[Bear Stearns’] retail industry expertise will be invaluable as the company enters its next phase of expansion”.

The deal comes amid a fund launch for the firm’s third fund, the $1.75 billion targeted Bear Stearns Merchant Banking III. Bear Stearns’ previous fund, the $1.5 billion Bear Stearns Merchant Banking Partners II, was raised four years ago. There was no word as to which vehicle will be investing in Transamerican.

Bear Stearns senior managing director Bodil Arlander led the deal for the firm, and Kirkland & Ellis provided legal counsel.