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.
Exclusive: @dsquared2 signs fragrance licensing agreement with Euroitalia, with the first effort of the new partnership being unveiled in September. The brand will launch two scents – one for men and one for women – in Italy. Read our interview with designer Dean and Dan Caten on WWD.com. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@louisvuitton has officially renewed Nicolas Ghesquière’s contract as artistic director of women's collections. "I am very pleased to open the next chapter of the story I started with Louis Vuitton almost 5 years ago," said Ghesquière, who first signed on to design the French luxury brand's women's line in 2013. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“I learned then and there that I had to figure out a way in life to maintain and preserve my sense of pride when I felt good about what I did or what I represented or created,” said @saintrecords on how being bullied for wearing capri pants inspired her to be the artist she is today. Knowles was at the 70th Parsons Benefit last night where she outbid the room for a Dapper Dan customized @gucci experience. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“There’s this amazing braintrust of people who know the whole universe so well. So we talked to them and they gave us more input,” said actor Alden Ehrenreich on playing the young Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The cast was at NYC’s SVA Theatre last night for an advanced screening of the film, which hits theaters this week. #wwdeye #starwars #hansolo (📷: @aurorarosedecrosta)
@asaprocky spent nearly two hours in a Plexiglas box Sunday night at @sothebys putting himself through a series of “tests” to demonstrate the process of completing his new album called “Testing.” Get all the details and see all the pictures on WWD.com. #wwdeye
“I’ve struggled my whole life to find a bathing suit that fits me that doesn’t look like a maternity bra. I’m proud of the line because it’s an accurate representation of me rather than me putting on someone else’s clothes,” says @atlantabean of her swimwear collaboration with @piaarrobio, LPA X ATL. The two decided on a swimwear collab and increased the industry standard size for the pieces. Read more about the line — and our interview with de Cadenet Taylor and Arrobio — on WWD.com #wwdfashion
Exclusive: Cate Blanchett has been named the first global beauty ambassador for @armanibeauty. Blanchett has been the face of the brand’s Sì fragrance franchise since 2013, and is now representing all of the label’s beauty categories including makeup and skin care. #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)