Differential Brands Group Inc. has acquired Scandinavian lifestyle brand Swims AS.
The acquisition and related costs were financed through a combination of 700,000 shares of Differential’s common stock, certain warrants and cash. Shares of Differential Brands on Monday closed at $2.78 in Nasdaq trading, giving the common stock component a value of slightly over $1.9 million. The company obtained a $13 million bridge financing facility to facilitate the closing of the deal. Combining the bridge financing with the share component, the value of the transaction is about $15 million. Differential said the purchase is expected to be immediately accretive for the firm.
Alex Eskeland, president and cofounder of Swims, said the deal allows it to capitalize on Differential Brands’ expertise and infrastructure, as well as leverage their omnichannel distribution strategy to build out Swims’ presence globally.
Swims AG is best known for its fashion-forward, water-resistant footwear and sportswear that balances performance, comfort and style. The brand’s range of footwear, swimwear, outerwear, ready-to-wear and accessories is distributed worldwide via high-end department stores, independent specialty stores and luxury resorts, as well as its company web site and at 10 licensed Swims-branded stores.
Michael Buckley, Differential’s chief executive officer, said, “This marks the first acquisition for Differential Brands….Swims’ unique, global footprint in the water-resistant footwear and apparel category aligns well with our strategy to build a portfolio of complementary, premium brands that consumers are passionate about.”
Buckley said Swims offers the company “significant growth opportunity” through increased brand awareness and continued expansion in the U.S. and international markets. “The transaction also adds a strong sales network around the world to build our existing Robert Graham and Hudson businesses.”
The company, formerly known as RG Parent LLC, is the parent company of the Robert Graham brand. It acquired the Hudson Clothing business in September 2015 from Joe’s Jeans. Following the acquisition, the company was renamed Differential Brands to better reflect both the merger of the Hudson Clothing and Robert Graham businesses, but also the new brand umbrella platform. Differential is publicly traded on the Nasdaq. Tengram Capital Partners is the controlling owner of Differential Brands.
According to Buckley, the company plans to make at least another three acquisition over the next four to five years. Differential Brands’ mission is to be publicly traded firm operating a platform of premium brands, Buckley said. He added that the goal is to do $700 million in annual revenues within a five years.
“There are good brands out there. We just have to get the right one,” Buckley said.
The ceo said it won’t buy another brand that would compete with Robert Graham, nor would it acquire another denim brand since it already has Hudson. It is considering women’s sportswear, footwear and dual gender sportswear brands, he said. Businesses that get Differential Brand’s attention need to do at least “$50 million to $100 million or $125 million in annual volume,” Buckley said.