By  on June 5, 2009

Donna Karan International Inc. is close to signing with S. Kumars Nationwide Ltd. for a joint venture and licensing agreement to manufacture and distribute DKNY men’s apparel, market sources said.

The new venture would replace a similar agreement DKI had with Marchpole Holdings plc, which was placed into administration, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11, in November.

The deal with SKNL is expected to include DKNY Black Label, targeted for the bridge market, as well as suits and sportswear. Distribution would be global — North America, Europe, Africa, the South Pacific, Middle East and Asia — replicating the Marchpole arrangement.

DKI declined comment on Thursday, and SKNL executives couldn’t be reached.

New York-based DKI was acquired by luxury goods firm LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in November 2001. LVMH trades on the Paris Stock Exchange.

SKNL, based in Mumbai, India, is a publicly held textiles and apparel firm that includes under its brand umbrella Carmichael House, Belmonte and, as a subsidiary, Scottish cashmere manufacturer Reid & Taylor. SKNL also operates retail stores in India through Brandhouse Retails Ltd. that sells, among others, luxury brands Alfred Dunhill and Escada.

SKNL North America, an affiliate of SKNL’s investment arm SKNL International, joined with London-based private equity turnaround firm Emerisque Brands UK Ltd. last month to bid for bankrupt men’s suit maker Hartmarx Corp. That joint offer, with a transactional value of $128.4 million including the assumption of liabilities, was approved as the stalking horse bid Tuesday by a Chicago bankruptcy court.

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