Zac Posen

Yucaipa Cos. could be looking to sell its stake in House of Z, Zac Posen’s firm, WWD has learned.

The investment firm, which was founded by Ron Burkle, has owned a piece of Posen’s company for more than 15 years, and confirmed exclusively that it was exploring options.

“We believe there are exciting opportunities to explore. We remain supportive of the brand,” Frank Quintero, a principal in Yucaipa, told WWD.

House of Z designs, markets, licenses and distributes women’s ready-to-wear, bridal and accessories under the Zac Posen, Zac Zac Posen and Truly Zac Posen labels. Known as a staple on the red carpet, Posen’s gowns have been worn by such celebrities as Uma Thurman, Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Watts, Claire Danes and Rihanna.

Quintero said there was no time frame on finding a partner with strategic capital, and Yucaipa could end up continuing to own a stake in the business. “It has been a great investment,” he said.

According to market sources, Posen is looking to explore what other strategic partners are out there to help the company with growth, particularly overseas expansion. The Zac Posen collections are available in 22 countries.

Quintero said he couldn’t comment on whether they have hired a banker yet.

Posen told WWD via e-mail, “As the marketplace is rapidly changing, we both believe exploring opportunities for future strategic growth is smart.”

He was not available for further comment.

Yucaipa met Posen through Sean Combs, whose company Sean John is one of its investments. Combs originally became a big investor in Posen’s company, acquiring 50 percent, and Yucaipa later took a controlling investment in Sean John, thus acquiring its stake in Posen.

Posen introduced his rtw in New York in February 2002 when he was 21 years old. Over the past 17 years, his atelier has grown from a single-room studio into a global luxury brand. In 2010, the company hired Jillian Sinel as president. Sinel was unavailable for comment Friday.

The company, which sells daywear and evening dressing in luxury department and specialty stores, created a secondary line, Zac Zac Posen, in 2013, which sells stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. In December 2016, Zac Posen launched his shoe collection with the pre-fall 2017 collection.

The company has a robust licensing business which includes Zac Zac Posen footwear, handbags, eyewear and fine jewelry.

Posen is also the creative director of Brooks Brothers’ women’s wear, having launched his inaugural collection in January 2016. In 2015, he signed on with Delta Air Lines to design uniforms for its employees. For six years, Posen served as a judge with Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia on “Project Runway.”

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