Ralph Lauren, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., is set to give up about a quarter of his Class B voting shares in his company in a secondary public offering that could net him nearly $900 million yet reduce his control of the firm’s voting stock by just 1.6 percent — to about 93.5 percent from 95.1 percent.

 

Polo said late Monday that it would commence a secondary offering of common stock in which Lauren will sell 9 million shares of Class A common stock to the public and grant the underwriters an additional 1.35 million shares to cover overallotments. The 10.35 million shares will come from the conversion of an equal number of Class B shares.

 

Additionally, Polo will purchase 1 million shares from Lauren at the same price as the public offering, the maximum price of which was listed as $78.55 in a shelf registration provided to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

At that price, the sale of the shares would add $891.5 million to the Lauren family coffers.

 

The company said Lauren’s role as chairman and ceo wouldn’t be affected by the offering and noted that “Mr. Lauren and his family will continue to maintain a significant controlling interest in the company.”

 

For complete coverage, see Tuesday’s issue of WWD.

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