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Kenneth Cole Acquires Le Tigre

Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. has acquired the Le Tigre trademark, its tiger logo, its portfolio of licenses and other properties associated with the young contemporary brand.

NEW YORK — Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. has acquired the Le Tigre trademark, its tiger logo, its portfolio of licenses and other properties associated with the young contemporary brand.

According to published reports, Cole spent $13 million and may make another $12 million in payments based on performance targets through next year.

The Le Tigre brand, which resurfaced in 2004 after more than a decade’s hiatus, did about $48 million in wholesale volume last year. Campus Sportswear launched the brand in 1977 as an American alternative to France’s Lacoste label. Le Tigre was brought back to the market by Ryan O’Sullivan, a former Wall Street executive, in 2004. He will continue to stay on as chief executive officer and has plans to increase the brand beyond the $200 million business it was during its heyday in 1984.

Le Tigre is now sold in better department and specialty stores such as Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Nordstrom. In conjunction with this acquisition, Kenneth Cole has entered into a license agreement with Le Tigre LLC to continue manufacturing and selling sportswear under the Le Tigre label. Although it began with the basic polo shirt, the Le Tigre brand now offers a full array of sportswear for women and men. The Le Tigre collection is based at 149 Fifth Avenue here, where it will remain.

“We believe there is a significant upside for the company, specifically through various licensing opportunities as well as through the introduction of men’s, women’s and children’s footwear,” Cole said in a statement.

This story first appeared in the September 19, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.