Joe’s Jeans found a new ownership structure with a familiar feel.
Centric and WHP said they had a definitive agreement and court approval for the deal, under which WHP will own the brand’s intellectual property, outside of China. Centric will continue to operate the business under a long-term exclusive license for its core categories and geographies.
Jason Rabin, chief executive officer of Centric Brands, said: “We have significantly invested in Joe’s Jeans throughout our years of operation and have established the brand as one of the leading premium denim resources. Celebrating its 20th year, we look forward to partnering with WHP Global to further develop the brand and new avenues to grow the business.”
Centric — which itself was caught with too much debt in the pandemic and went through bankruptcy court, coming out with a restructured balance sheet — has a portfolio of over 100 owned and licensed brands and sales of about $2.5 billion. In addition to Joe’s, the company makes men’s and women’s apparel under license for Buffalo, Hervé Léger and Izod.
The deal pulls Joe’s out of the Sequential bankruptcy but leaves it with a similar structure — with Centric still making the goods and an intellectual property specialist holding on to the name.
Yehuda Shmidman, chairman and chief executive officer at WHP Global, said: “The acquisition of Joe’s Jeans in partnership with Centric is a win for WHP Global as it expands our growing fashion vertical which already includes Anne Klein and Joseph Abboud. Together with Centric, we will look to build upon the core business and expand around the world to new geographies.”
Joe’s is trading hands just as denim picks back up.
The brand was part of the wave of names driving the premium denim rush in the Aughts, but times were leaner as consumers and the industry pivoted to athleisure looks and brands like Lululemon Athletica took big share.
Now, after more than a year of lockdowns and leggings, and with a more casual approach to return to work and life, jeans are seeing a stronger comeback.
Executives at Levi Strauss & Co. and Kontoor Brands Inc., owner of Wrangler and Lee, have been crowing that a new denim cycle is gathering steam.
More from WWD: