NEW YORK--Charterhouse Group International has acquired a 50 percent ownership interest in Rio Sportswear, which is headed by Arnold Simon, a principal in the company. Rio, based here, designs, distributes and markets women's and children's sportswear under the Rio brand and, under license, manufactures Bill Blass Jeans and Rifle Jeans Co. of Europe. The deal marks the second partnership between Simon and Charterhouse. In a separate transaction in July, they formed Calvin Klein Jeanswear Co., which earlier this month acquired the Calvin Klein jeanswear collection and related licensing rights from Calvin Klein. That deal was valued at around $50 million, exclusive of ongoing royalties and variables such as inventories. Simon said that in its deal with Rio, Charterhouse bought out his partner, Stephen Huang, who is based in Los Angeles. Simon and Huang had been partners in Rio for 11 years. Neither Simon nor Charterhouse would say how much Charterhouse paid for its 50 percent share, but Simon said the investment will enable Rio "to be stronger financially and keep the expansion opportunities open." Simon said Rio is expected to do over $300 million in wholesale volume this year. Charterhouse Group International, established in 1973, manages over $550 million of equity funds in the middle market and has made equity investments in more than 50 companies.
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