By  on February 25, 2008

NEW YORK — After Six has changed hands.

Last Thursday, The Anderson Group LLC, a private equity firm based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., completed the acquisition of the venerable formalwear label from Sequa Corp., a division of The Carlyle Group.

Terms were not disclosed.

Barry Shapiro, cofounder of The Anderson Group, confirmed the purchase and said his company intends to revitalize the label and expand its reach. “It’s a wonderful name that hasn’t been aggressively promoted in the past few years,” he said. “We plan to promote it and expand the product offerings beyond tuxedos.”

Shapiro said current After Six management has been retained and that Marc Schechter, a principal with Anderson Group, will oversee the business. Schechter, who joined Anderson last year, was formerly president and CEO of Advance Watch Group, a $250 million import company selling watches and clocks to big-box retailers. He was a founding member of that company, which was sold to a private equity firm and is now known as Geneva Watch Group.

“Marc will build the business plan and play the role of CEO [for After Six],” Shapiro said.

Kathleen Peskens, the current president and CEO of the Athens, Ga.–based firm, told DNR that she “feels real good about” the acquisition by Anderson. She said After Six had been owned by Sequa for about 10 years “and we never really fit in with them.” Since being bought by Carlyle, Sequa has been “getting more cohesive,” she said, and shedding unrelated businesses, such as After Six.

Peskens, who has been with After Six for 21 years, said she had left the firm in 2004 but returned in 2006 to “clean it up and make it salable. We’ve actually been for sale for a while.”

She said that Anderson is “very excited” about owning After Six and “wants to learn the business. I feel especially good that they retained all the employees. And I’m relieved that we’ve found an owner committed to growing the business. We feel really comfortable with them.”

Shapiro said the After Six business appealed to Anderson for several reasons. “It fits with Anderson’s basic premise, which is to acquire businesses we believe we can add value to.” In addition, Anderson has an affiliate business in the Far East, The Anderson Group Asia LLC, headquartered in Shanghai, which can benefit After Six with its production, Shapiro said.

“And we own several businesses in retailing and the mass-market field,” he added, “not directly related [to apparel], but we’re familiar with that space.”

Founded in 1985 by Shapiro and Tom Gaffney, The Anderson Group has acquired over 30 companies and currently includes in its portfolio Hastings Mfg., a producer of piston rings; the crossbow manufacturer Horton Mfg. Co.; LaBella Sausage; Powell & Powell Supply Co., a producer of awnings; TecArt Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of point-of-purchase and back-lit signs; TexStyle, a home furnishings manufacturer; WCB Ice Cream, an ice cream equipment manufacturer; and Wetsel Inc., which deals with lawn and garden products.

After Six was founded in 1903.

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