PARIS — Maus Frères SA has won the battle for Gant.
The Swiss retailer, which owns France's Lacoste sportswear brand, on Thursday said it reached a deal with Gant chairman Lennart Björk that allows it to take control of 95.6 percent of the Swedish sportswear firm.
After launching an unsolicited bid for Gant in December that valued the firm at 5.2 billion Swedish kronor, or $816.4 million, Maus sweetened its original offer by 10 kronor, or $1.50, a share to 320 kronor, or $50.24, a share to buy an additional 59.7 percent stake in Gant.
Björk will remain Gant's chairman. The entrepreneur agreed to tender his shares after initially spurning Maus' hostile raid of the firm, which he and a group of investors bought the global rights to in 1999. Maus had amassed a 35.3 percent stake in Gant by mid-January, becoming its biggest single shareholder.
But Björk remained defiant and Maus was left to ponder its next move. The new deal clears the way for Maus to realize its ambitions of making Gant a global player with a greater presence in the United States and Japan.
"We are very pleased to have been able to come to an agreement with Lennart Björk and all the other of Gant's major shareholders, which puts an end to a period of uncertainty," said Didier Maus, chairman of Maus Frères. "We look forward to a fruitful working relationship with Björk and Gant's staff and partners in the months and years to come."
Björk cast the agreement as a way to "ensure continuity " and to "further develop Gant" into a world-class brand.
Maus said it will now commence a "squeeze-out" procedure to acquire Gant's remaining capital.
Maus, Switzerland's largest privately held retail group, wants to leverage its expertise in international operations and logistics planning to elevate Gant to the next level. It sees its track record in growing Lacoste, which now runs 1,000 stores around the world, as a template to apply to Gant, which operates 310 stores at present.
Sales of all Lacoste branded products were about 2 billion euros, or $2.91 billion, last year. Maus, which runs department stores and specialized retail chains as well as the French sportswear brand Aigle, had 2006 revenues of about 5.9 billion Swiss francs, or $4.83 billion.Maus has been sizing up Gant for some time. It courted Björk late last year with a friendly offer to buy the company but, after some negotiation, Björk refused Maus' propositions. Maus then mounted a surprise raid on Gant in mid-December, which Björk told shareholders should be rejected.
Gant, which was founded in America, has been doing well. For the first nine months of last year, Gant's net profit increased 18 percent to 175 million Swedish kronor, or $25.4 million at average exchange, on brand sales of 5.85 billion Swedish kronor, or $849.1 million, up 14 percent.
The deal with Maus pads Björk's wallet for a second time in less than two years. He and his partners, who include businessmen Klas Käll and Staffan Wittmark, floated the company on the Stockholm Stock Exchange to the tune of 241 million euros, or $38 million, in 2006. Private equity firms 3i and L Capital, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault, had invested in Gant and reaped handsome profits in the initial public offering.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)