NEW YORK — Mortgaged-backed securities firm Aether Holdings Inc. said on Tuesday that it acquired UCC Capital Corp., a firm that has been at the forefront of structured finance vehicles based on intellectual property for many fashion firms.

Robert D’Loren, who served as president and chief executive officer of UCC, assumes the ceo title at Aether. Aether’s David Oros continues as chairman. Under the terms of the deal, Aether acquired all outstanding equity of UCC for 2.5 million shares of Aether common stock. Aether will pay up to an additional 2.5 million shares and up to $10 million in cash if certain business objectives are achieved within five years. UCC’s headquarters in Manhattan will become the new corporate headquarters for Aether, which had been based in Baltimore.

The deal is expected to give D’Loren a platform from which to create his own brand management firm, backed by the financial resources of Aether. D’Loren’s financial strategy involves using a business model similar to the brand management structure he created for Iconix. While D’Loren will still advise and provide strategic support for firms such as Iconix, as well as structure financial deals such as those for BCBG Max Azria and Bill Blass, he’s looking to do less financing and more brand-building.

“We will shift our focus to principal transactions and acquire companies in apparel, footwear, sporting goods and franchising.” D’Loren said.

Richard Kestenbaum, partner at investment banking firm Triangle Capital, said, “Robert has been innovative in developing financial tools that are based purely on intellectual property. We find in our business at Triangle Capital that as time goes on, we’re dealing more and more with intellectual property as a perceived added value in the companies that we sell.”

This story first appeared in the June 8, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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