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Loehmann's Holdings, the 85-year-old off-price retailer, has been acquired for $300 million by an investment firm based in the United Arab Emirates that plans to significantly grow the chain.

NEW YORK — Loehmann’s Holdings, the 85-year-old off-price retailer, has been acquired for $300 million by an investment firm based in the United Arab Emirates that plans to significantly grow the chain.

The new owner, Istithmar PJSC, said Monday that it purchased Loehmann’s from private equity firm Arcapita and is set to grow with a flagship on Manhattan’s upper West Side.

Istithmar PJSC, which describes itself as an “alternative investment house,” said in a statement that while the deal provides “Istithmar a firm footing in the U.S. retail market, it lends significant synergies to Loehmann’s, which can draw from the Dubai firm’s expertise in retail management.”

The Peter J. Solomon Co., based in New York, acted as financial adviser to Istithmar PJSC. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton served as legal adviser. Arcapita is based in Atlanta and was advised by Lehman Brothers.

Robert N. Friedman, chief executive officer of Loehmann’s, said in a statement that the retailer “will expand its network, taking the number of stores to 100 from the current 60 over the next five years.

“We have recently signed a lease agreement for a new flagship store in Manhattan, on the upper West Side, that will contribute significantly to the company’s performance,” Friedman said. “The company will continue to pursue its small store strategy as well as Internet opportunities.”

Istithmar PJSC also owns Retailcorp, “which has significant interests in the Middle East retail market,” the company said in a statement. “The acquisition is a step forward in our strategy to accelerate growth in core areas,” Sultan bin Sulayem, executive chairman of Istithmar, said in a statement. “Loehmann’s presents an attractive opportunity that will add breadth to our portfolio of retail businesses and build value for stakeholders. With the completion of this deal, Istithmar will now have an expanded presence on the board of Loehmann’s Holdings.”

The company said that it has “held a board seat alongside Arcapita and Loehmann’s since its first indirect investment in the company in early 2005.” David Jackson, ceo of Istithmar, said, “Our expanded investment in Loehmann’s reflects our strategy within the retail sector of focusing on unique concepts at the top and bottom ends of the market.”

This story first appeared in the July 18, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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