Nike Inc. has signed a $570 million agreement to sell Cole Haan to private equity firm Apax Partners.
The sneaker giant bought Cole Haan for $95 million in cash and debt in 1988, but wanted to divest the business, along with Umbro, to focus on its core Nike, Jordan, Converse and Hurley brands. Iconix Brand Group Inc. agreed to buy Umbro for $225 million last month.
Alex Pellegrini, a partner on Apax’s retail and consumer team, said Cole Haan has broad consumer appeal and room to grow both in the U.S. and internationally.
Apax declined to comment on its specific plans for the brand before the deal closes, but it’s clear the industry is chasing Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. — an accessories-heavy fashion business with accessible prices that is now valued at more than $9.7 billion.
Cole Haan is sold through department stores as well as 108 U.S. stores and 68 shops abroad. Revenues rose 3 percent to $535 million for the fiscal year ended May 31. The New York-based brand was founded in 1928 and sells men’s and women’s footwear, outerwear and accessories.
For the next leg of the brand’s history, Apax is teaming up with Jack Boys, the former chief executive officer of Converse, who helped grow that brand’s sales to over $1 billion from $150 million.
Apax manages $35 billion and is a familiar name in fashion having previously invested in Tommy Hilfiger and worked with Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. (now PVH Corp.) in its acquisition of Calvin Klein.
The Cole Haan deal is expected to close early next year. Jefferies & Co. advised Apax on the transaction and provided financing.
The full terms were not disclosed, but investment bankers have noted that private equity firms are able to borrow money very cheaply as they buy into businesses.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast