The quickly growing Vince brand appears to be several steps closer to the public markets.
The brand’s parent, Kellwood Co., recently hired Lisa Klinger to be chief financial officer — giving financial lead of the company to an executive with recent experience with a retail initial public offering. Klinger last month resigned as executive vice president and cfo of The Fresh Market Inc., where she earned high marks for her handling of the firm’s 2010 IPO.
Kellwood, which is owned by Sun Capital Partners, is said to be working with Goldman Sachs as it explores an IPO for Vince, although it is not clear if the investment bank has been officially hired to put together an offering. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
One financial source familiar with the company noted: “When businesses are being run by private equity, sometimes they have cfo’s in place who are good cfo’s but aren’t public market cfo’s, and sometimes they want to [shift] to someone who has relationships with equity investors and other people in the regular financial markets.”
If there were an IPO, most observers expect that it would be a partial spin off of Vince. That would leave Kellwood holding a significant stake in that business as well as a number of other, less profitable businesses, such as Rebecca Taylor, Sag Harbor and My Michelle.
Kellwood’s third-quarter earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes, amortization and restructuring rose 13.8 percent to $19.8 million from $17.4 million a year earlier, a company spokeswoman confirmed to WWD. That’s a good jump, especially considering sales for the three months inched up 3.6 percent to $215.5 million from $208 million.
Vince is seen as Kellwood’s financial engine. The brand is estimated to have about $60 million in EBITDA on sales of $225 million to $250 million.
In considering an IPO for Vince, Kellwood is following the steps of Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., which went public a year ago and reawakened investors to the potential gains to be had with a quickly growing fashion brand.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast