Entrepreneur Efrem Gerszberg has signed a definitive agreement to acquire and take private Hampshire Group Ltd., maker of Dockers men’s sweaters and Joseph Abboud men’s sportswear, via his investment vehicle NAF Acquisition Corp. Gerszberg is the president of George Foreman Enterprises and the younger brother of Seth Gerszberg, co-founder and chief executive officer of Marc Ecko Enterprises.
NAF Acquisition Corp., a subsidiary of Gerszberg’s NAF Holdings II LLC, has tendered an offer, approved by New York-based Hampshire’s board, to acquire the outstanding shares of publicly traded Hampshire for $5.55 a share, representing a 200 percent premium on their closing price of Feb. 23. For the deal to go through, NAF must acquire at least 82 percent of Hampshire Group’s 5.47 million outstanding shares, making the purchase price at least $24.9 million and valuing the company at about $30.4 million. Upon completion of the deal, NAF would merge with Hampshire Group, and the latter would survive as a private company.
On Tuesday, Hampshire Group shares skyrocketed $2.90, or 156.8 percent, on account of the news, closing at $4.75. According to Gerszberg, he has received commitments to finance the entire purchase price.
Hampshire chairman Michael Jackson said, “The board of directors is pleased to provide this opportunity to achieve liquidity to our shareholders in this economic environment at a price we believe is fair, and we believe that the transaction will have a positive outcome for our customers and employees.”
Hampshire Group chief executive Michael Culang told WWD it was too early to predict if enough shareholders would agree to the deal or when the sale would be finalized. “We have just signed the agreement, and we are beginning the process of sending out the tender offer materials,” he noted.
Culang added that as a relatively small company, a limited number of large Hampshire shareholders would be involved in the merger decision. Among those key shareholders is Milwaukee-based Heartland Advisors, which owns 450,920 shares of Hampshire, and Kentucky-based River Road Asset Management, which owns 556,705 shares, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed earlier this month.
Prior to joining George Foreman Enterprises, Gerszberg, 34, was a practicing attorney and served on the board of directors and strategic advisory panel of Marc Ecko Enterprises. “As an investor in the apparel industry,” he stated, “I have come to know and admire Hampshire for its reputation for producing high-quality, trend-right apparel at attractive price points. I look forward to working with Hampshire’s excellent team to enhance its already strong status as a compelling resource for national retailers.”
Hampshire Group owns and markets Spring + Mercer, Designers Originals, Mercer Street Studio, Requirements and RQT brands to major retailers including Macy’s, Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, Dillard’s, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. Additionally, it licenses the Geoffrey Beene and Dockers brands for men’s sweaters, and Joseph Abboud and Alexander Julian for men’s tops and bottoms.
In the third quarter ended Sept. 27, Hampshire Group posted net income of $2.7 million, down 34 percent from income of $4.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Total sales in the quarter slipped 5 percent to $81 million, down from $85.2 million in the previous quarter. For the nine months ended Sept. 27, the company posted a net loss of $9.1 million compared to a net loss of $6.1 million in the year-ago period. Total sales fell 3 percent to $153.6 million, down from $158.5 million a year ago. Fourth-quarter figures have yet to be released.
Hampshire Group was delisted from the Nasdaq in 2007, due to late filings of its quarterly earnings, and currently trades on the Pink Sheets.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)