Eton has changed hands.
Swedish private equity firm Litorina IV LP on Tuesday sold its 53 percent stake in the high-end Swedish shirt brand to another private equity company, EQT VII. Litorina became the majority owner of the brand in 2011 and since that time, the company has doubled its sales to $76 million from $35 million and tripled its operating profit, according to the company. The Davidson family, which founded the brand in 1928, will retain an unspecified ownership stake, and Hans Davidson, grandson of the founders, will continue as chief executive officer.
The transaction is subject to approval from the competition authority in Austria and is expected to close during the beginning of 2016. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Our partnership with Litorina has exceeded everyone’s expectations,” Davidson said. “We have achieved our aggressive goals within three-and-a-half years instead of six, which was the original time frame. Litorina has focused on adding resources and supporting management in developing and executing on the growth plan. They also made significant investments in the go-to market strategy and launch of Eton’s own online store. As a result, Eton has increased its number of employees by 90 percent since Litorina’s investment while increasing profitability.”
Davidson said that under EQT, Eton will continue to expand internationally. Currently, the brand is offered at more than 1,300 points of sale in 43 countries. “Litorina has, as an active owner, provided valuable support during this important growth phase,” he added. “I am now looking forward to continue developing Eton as a leading international shirt-maker together with EQT.”
Harold Kaiser, partner at Litorina Capital Advisors AB, advisor to Litorina IV LP, added: “Hans Davidson and his team have carried out the growth plan that we together created in an impressive way. Today, Eton has an even stronger position in the market for premium men’s shirts and is well equipped to continue its strong development under EQT’s ownership.”
Nordea acted as financial advisor, Sundling & Värn as independent advisor, Mannheimer Swartling as legal advisor, and PwC provided transaction services to the sellers in the transaction.
EQT, founded in 1994, is a global private equity group with approximately $31 billion in raised capital. It has investments in Europe, Asia and the U.S., and offices around the world.