By and  on July 12, 2005

NEW YORK — Theory, a contemporary brand that generates over $300 million in wholesale volume, is making key moves to establish itself as a global player.

Since June 9 when the firm went public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, shares of Link Theory Holdings Co. Ltd. have risen 25 percent. The stock, which opened at 848,000 yen ($7,577) on June 9, closed Monday at 1.06 million yen ($9,471.50). Both figures are at current exchange rates.

Link Theory Holdings owns the Theory business in Japan and the U.S. and is headed by Ricky Sasaki, 54, chief executive officer. Andrew Rosen, 48, is president of Theory Holdings Inc., the U.S. business, of which he owns 11 percent. He doesn't have an ownership stake in Link Theory Holdings Co. Ltd., nor does he have a position at the Japanese company or on its board.

In an interview in Japan, Sasaki told WWD he decided to take Link Theory public because of the brand's growth potential. "I had that idea before I bought Theory. There are few apparel companies whose business became better after being listed, but that's because they went public at their peak and they are able to expand business only by starting new brands," said Sasaki. "But we have many factors to expand this brand — direct management of the business in the U.S.; opening the flagship shop in New York in fall 2006 [at 40 Gansevoort Street]; establishing business in European and Asian countries, including China; developing the accessories and licensing businesses, and strengthening the men's wear business.

"Theory will grow up to a global brand that generates 100 billion yen [$892.9 million]," he predicted.

For the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, Link Theory Holdings projects sales of $315.6 million, up from $224 million a year ago. Net profits are expected to be $21.4 million, versus a loss of $16.9 million a year ago.

Through the public offering, Link Theory raised 9 billion yen, or $85 million. Some 15,780 shares were sold to the public out of a total of 70,520. At the time of the IPO, the company had a market capitalization of approximately $550 million, said Rosen in an interview last week.

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