NEW YORK — With their pockets stuffed with $120 billion to spend, private equity firms have surveyed the retail and luxury landscape and made some remarkable deals.
Edward S. Lampert’s ESL Investments, for example, bailed out Kmart Corp. from bankruptcy two years ago. Lampert subsequently upped his stake in Sears and forced the retailer to sell its credit card business. Lampert then took the helm of Kmart Holding before engineering the $11 billion merger with Sears, Roebuck & Co. to create Sears Holding Corp.
Other notable hedge-fund deals include the sale of Mervyn’s, which involved Cerberus and, more recently, Toys ‘R’ Us.
But these deals involved target companies that were either distressed or on the auction block. A leveraged buyout of J.C. Penney signals a return to the corporate raids of the late Eighties. Here are some possible LBOs the hedge funds might consider:
With sales of about $16.3 billion — just a bit under those of Penney’s — acquiring Gap could be a piece of cake for a consortium of private equity players.
This retailer has an enterprise value of $17 billion, but it targets a demographic similar to J.C. Penney.
Sales are about $7.5 billion. The predominantly family-run company is consistently tight-lipped and rumored not to be interested in selling, which would make it a challenging LBO.
Attractive on the top line, bottom line and on the balance sheet, Coach has an enterprise value pegged at $11 billion. But Lew Frankfort, chairman and chief executive, might put up a tough fight.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Also an attractive catch, especially with an enterprise value of about $4.4 billion.
With an enterprise value of over $20 billion, this would be one trophy LBO deal, worth considering given the company’s dominant market position.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)