Robert Graham might be ready for a new partner.
This story first appeared in the December 17, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The manufacturer, best known for its wildly patterned woven men’s shirts, has been pounding the pavement looking for an investor, according to two market sources.
This wouldn’t be the first time for the brand.
Connecticut-based private-equity firm Tengram Capital Partners made what it called a “significant financial investment” into the company in 2011 to provide growth capital.
William Sweedler, cofounder and managing partner of Tengram, told WWD: “We don’t comment on what we’re doing with our portfolio investment.”
Originally only a men’s shirt brand, Robert Graham has since expanded into a variety of other categories, including tailored clothing, denim, eyewear, footwear and women’s wear, and its volume has doubled to more than $300 million. The company also has significantly expanded its retail presence, with 11 stores around the country as well as more than 70 shops-in-shop at specialty stores and a few department stores.
According to sources, since Tengram invested in the company, the brand has become much more visible and potential purchasers have begun sniffing around, although Robert Graham is not officially for sale. Because of the success the brand has achieved and the aggressive growth planned for next year, Tengram may not yet be ready to cash out. But if a hefty enough offer were to be made, Tengram might sell its stake, according to one observer.
Until that time, the private equity firm has found other projects to keep it busy.
In October, the investor acquired a majority stake in the Luciano Barbera brand, a luxury men’s and women’s wear label based in Italy’s Piedmont region. At the time of the acquisition, sources said Barbera had worldwide sales of around $50 million and Tengram plans to grow sales four- to five-fold over the next several years, Sweedler said at the time of the acquisition.