It’s been nearly a month since Jessica Simpson and her business partner and mother Tina Simpson gained full control of the Jessica Simpson Collection, and the duo are busy making plans to pump new excitement into the brand.
The Simpsons repurchased the Jessica Simpson Collection from Sequential Brands Group, which filed for bankruptcy in August, for $65 million for the 62.5 percent Sequential portion, making the duo 100 percent brand owners. The deal closed Nov. 12.
WWD reported in May that Jessica Simpson and her mother were working with William Susman’s Threadstone Advisors, who structured the transaction, to raise money to buy back the Jessica Simpson business.
The day-to-day business is now being run by Jessica Simpson as chief executive officer and Tina Simpson as president. The business is headquartered in Los Angeles, with showrooms in New York.
According to the Simpsons, their priorities will be expanding into skin care, health and wellness, as well as weight control, demi-fine jewelry, and furniture, including mattresses, home improvement, retail stores and international. Specifically, they are signing Jacmel for demi-fine jewelry, and Conair for makeup bags and hair accessories, and they are in negotiations for skin care and dress partners.
“Jessica’s involvement will continue as it always has, but with even more fervor and excitement being the owner of her brand,” said Tina Simpson on Wednesday.
Licensing partnerships remain intact, including the Camuto Group for Jessica Simpson Collection Footwear, which has been extended through 2029.
The Simpson business has 32 licensed categories and hundreds of employees. The Jessica Simpson team will remain intact and add employees as needed.
Founded in 2005, the Jessica Simpson Collection is a lifestyle concept inspired by and designed in collaboration with Jessica Simpson. The brand offers 32 product categories, which in addition to footwear, includes apparel, fragrance, luggage, fashion accessories, handbags, jewelry, maternity apparel, girls’ clothing and home. The brand has nearly 20 licensees and strong department store distribution, in addition to a robust e-commerce business. The brand is distributed to such retailers as Dillard’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Belk, Zappos and DSW, as well as internationally.
Pre-pandemic, the brand was said to be doing about $1 billion in retail sales. This year the brand expects to generate between $700 million and $750 million in retail sales.
“I am humbled to reclaim 100 percent of my brand and my name. I am so proud of the work we have done in building a complete lifestyle brand that is fashion-forward and relatable to all kinds of women,” said Jessica Simpson. “It is my honor to partner with the greatest leader, my mom, for this next phase that will see us continuing to bring our customers a quality product at an affordable price point. I appreciate the steadfast support of our truly awesome licensees and partners and look forward to many more years of meaningful, successful collaboration. The sky is the limit for this magical brand that all started with a pair of cowboy boots and a dream.”
Tina Simpson added: “Jessica has a uniquely personal connection to her fans and our customers. She is the ultimate muse in every way. I am thrilled to partner with her to bring the Jessica Simpson Collection to the next level as we step into 100 percent ownership of the brand. It is my pleasure and honor to lead our talented team of passionate, dedicated, smart women and work hand in hand with our world-class licensees to deliver product and build a legacy that we are all immensely proud of.”
Jessica and Tina Simpson self-financed the purchase with additional funds provided by First Eagle Alternative Credit and WhiteHawk Capital. Larry Klaff, senior managing director for First Eagle Alternative Credit, said: “First Eagle Alternative Credit is excited to be part of the financing and looks forward to supporting the company’s strategic growth.”
Susman of Threadstone Advisors was responsible for structuring the transaction along with Jessica Simpson Collection chief financial officer Jeff Howald. Mitchell C. Littman, an attorney with Littman, Krooks LLP, advised on corporate legal matters and Mette Kurth, an attorney with Culhane Meadows PLLC, advised on bankruptcy matters. Chuck W. Grimes from Grimes LLC advised on intellectual property law, and David Levin of DL Business Management serves as Jessica Simpson’s business manager.
Jessica Simpson launched at a time when celebrity brands were all the rage, and while many businesses during that time disappeared, Jessica Simpson Collection achieved a real critical mass and evolved with Simpson herself personally and through corporate changes. The late Vince Camuto bought the brand’s master license for $15 million at its start and helped steer its development, first in footwear, and then into other categories. Shortly after Camuto’s death, Sequential entered the picture paying $117.56 million in cash as well as Sequential stock for a 62.5 percent stake in the brand.
As reported in October, Galaxy Universal bought Sequential’s active brands for $330 million. The portfolio included And1, Avia, Gaiam and SPRI brands.
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