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Partners Group, Avista Buy BofA’s Strategic Partners Stake

Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Private-equity investors in Switzerland and the U.S. have joined the management of Strategic Partners Inc., a maker of medical uniforms, to buy the company from Bank of America Corp.

Partners Group Holding AG, based in Zug, Switzerland, and Avista Capital Partners in New York will bring “significant resources” to the seller of Cherokee and Dickies-branded scrubs, Michael Singer, chief executive officer and founder of Strategic Partners, said today in a statement.

Terms of the transaction aren’t being disclosed, the buyers said in the statement. Officials at Bank of America based in the U.S. declined to comment on the deal.

Strategic Partners, with offices in Chatsworth, California, was previously owned by Bank of America Merrill Lynch Capital Partners. The firm focuses on the domestic market where medical staff generally buy their uniforms themselves.

“It’s the largest wholesaler of this type of product in the U.S.,” David Layton of Partners Group, who joins the apparel company’s board, said in a phone interview. “It’s almost a fashion business.”

Bank of America, the second-biggest U.S. lender by assets, has sold more than $50 billion in assets and businesses since Brian T. Moynihan took over as CEO in 2010 to bolster capital before stricter international rules take effect.

Seeking Liquidity

“Partners Group has established a dialogue with a number of financial institutions that need to dispose of positions in private equity and real estate and are seeking liquidity -- investors who are available and interested in different types of assets,” Layton said.

Partners Group, which has more than two-thirds of its managed assets in private equity and the rest in real estate, corporate debt and infrastructure, said in July it sees opportunities in North America after scaling back investments in emerging markets.

North America accounted for 52 percent of private market investments in the six months through June, compared with 40 percent in the prior year period.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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