NEW YORK — The Komar company has signed a letter of intent to acquire Le Mystère, an upscale foundations brand.
This story first appeared in the November 7, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The deal is expected to close Thursday, said Charles Komar, chairman and chief executive officer of the $750 million Komar firm.
A purchase price was not available, but Le Mystère generates wholesale annual sales of $25 million, according to industry sources.
The Le Mystère brand was created in 1991 by Michael Rabinowitz, a 46-year veteran of the intimate apparel industry.
The brand is sold at major department and specialty retailers in the U.S. such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Dillard’s, and Harrods and John Lewis in the U.K., as well as specialty boutiques worldwide.
Komar said that Rabinowitz will continue to run the Le Mystère business and the showroom will remain located at 183 Madison Avenue here.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time and have been back and forth on this deal for the past several months,” said Komar. “It’s still a great brand and business, and it’s the second-best-selling [bra] brand at Harrods. They had a big bump in 2006 but sales have since remained consistent.…In this environment it’s so hard to run a business and have all of the synergies in place.”
The Le Mystère brand gained national exposure in 2006 when Oprah Winfrey featured a bevy of the brand’s fashion bras on her TV talk show.
Regarding any changes at Le Mystère, Komar said, “Most employees will continue with us but there’s sure to be some back-office consolidation.”
“We’ll be investing a lot of money and will be expanding the brand into sleepwear and loungewear categories in 2014,” he said.
The Komar company has been on an acquisitions roll for the past several years.
Komar bought Biflex Intimates Group LLC, a $60 million intimates specialist, in August. In October 2010, the family-owned Komar acquired The Carole Hochman Design Group, a sleepwear and foundations concern that generates between $150 million and $299 million annually. Hochman produces and distributes intimates by On Gossamer as well as several licensees, including Oscar de la Renta, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Betsey Johnson Intimates, Lilly Pulitzer, and Tommy Bahama sleepwear, loungewear and boxers for men. In December 2010, Komar bought the $100 million St. Eve and St. Eve Kids brands and assets from Russell-Newman Inc. Earlier, Komar purchased O’Bryan Bros. Inc., a $50 million specialist of warmwear by Cuddl Duds, in May 2009.
Komar’s portfolio includes licensed sleepwear by Donna Karan, DKNY, Ellen Tracy, Eileen West and Kensie.