Brand management firm WHP Global debuts, reveals Anne Klein acquisition
Brand management firm WHP Global made its debut on Wednesday, celebrating the launch with the announcement that the group has acquired U.S. women’s fashion brand, Anne Klein, from Premier Brands.
Premier Brands (formerly Nine West Holdings) said it will continue as a long-term licensee for multiple Anne Klein categories including sportswear and jewelry. The Anne Klein sale will allow Premier to focus on its current domestic and international wholesale accounts, according to a press release.
Founded in 1968, Anne Klein offers a range of American-style footwear, timepieces, jewelry, bags, sunglasses and more. The brand currently generates over $700 million in global retail sales with product distribution partners including Steve Madden for footwear and handbags; Kasper Group for sportswear; and E. Gluck for watches.
“With its extensive heritage and strong sales base, Anne Klein is the perfect brand to kick off the WHP portfolio,” said Ted Crockin, vice president at Oaktree and a member of the WHP board of directors, who did not disclose terms of the deal.
"We believe there is ample opportunity for even further growth and look forward to supporting this iconic brand’s next chapter.”
As part of the acquisition, WHP said Anne Klein will sharpen its focus on driving growth with key retailers in the U.S., including Macy’s, and will also work to identify new categories and expand globally. The brand management group plans to invest significantly in marketing, social media and digital commerce to drive increased brand engagement.
New York-based WHP is led by Yehuda Shmidman, the company’s chairman and CEO, and is backed by a $200-million equity commitment from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management. WHP plans to deploy up to $1 billion in capital over the next five years, according to a press release.
Prior to WHP, Shmidman held several C-suite roles in the brand management industry, where he raised and invested nearly $2 billion of institutional capital in fashion, home, entertainment and consumer brands.
U.S. footwear and apparel company Nine West Holdings emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March this year. Renamed Premier Brands Group Holdings, it is now under the majority equity ownership of CVC Credit Partners and Brigade Capital.
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