By and  on November 16, 2007

NEW YORK — Liz Lange, the 10-year-old designer maternity company, has a new parent.The company was sold Thursday night to Bluestar Alliance for an estimated $50 to $60 million, industry sources said.Bluestar, led by Ralph Gindi and Joey Gabbay, recently purchased Ron Chereskin, the men's apparel brand. Bluestar also owns Wellington Capital Group, where Gabbay is president. Wellington last year acquired the Harvé Benard brand.Neither Liz Lange nor Bluestar executives could be reached for comment.Lange, who started her firm in 1997 offering stylish, well-made maternity clothes, struck a chord with celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker, as well as regular moms. The company operates three freestanding stores on Madison Avenue here, North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills and in Greenvale, N.Y. It also has an e-commerce Web site.In 2001, Lange joined with Nike to produce an exclusive line of maternity athletic wear. The next year, she signed an exclusive agreement with Target Corp. for a less-expensive maternity line while continuing upscale distribution of her designer maternity line.Industry sources estimate Lange's business generates $200 million in revenues, including licensees. The designer has been eager to strike a deal with a private equity firm for several years to aggressively expand both her product line and freestanding stores. Sources said Lange plans to close her existing stores in the first half of 2008, and re-open in new locations later in the year and in 2009 with expanded product assortments for mothers and babies. She also expects to branch into women's ready-to-wear.The author of "Liz Lange's Maternity Style: How to Look Fabulous During the Most Fashion-Challenged Time," Lange also has collaborated with Nikon on a limited edition Liz Lange camera.In a speech last year to the fashion industry, Lange recalled that she faced opposition from retailers in launching her business. One told her women didn't care about their appearance during pregnancy because it only lasted nine months. "No matter what anyone says, if you think you have a good idea, you probably do...don't let anyone tell you it can't be done," she told the group.

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