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Lion Capital to buy majority stake in John Varvatos
Mar '12
The owners of John Varvatos Enterprises Inc., VF Sportswear, Inc., a subsidiary of VF Corporation and John Varvatos announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to sell the majority ownership interest in the company to Lion Capital LLP, with Mr. Varvatos retaining an ownership position. The transaction, which is subject to normal closing conditions, is expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2012. Terms were not disclosed.

John Varvatos launched his namesake brand in 2000 with a collection of tailored clothing and sportswear and it now represents an entire men's lifestyle collection that includes footwear, bags, belts, eyewear, limited edition watches and men's fragrances, as well as the younger, edgier John Varvatos Star U.S.A. Collection and Converse by John Varvatos.

The collection is distributed in 10 freestanding John Varvatos boutiques across the United States and online, as well as in the best specialty stores and better department stores throughout the world including Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Inc., Bloomingdale's Inc., Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen Inc., andHarvey Nichols.
The designer has been recognized three times by the CFDA with an American Fashion Award for New Menswear Designer (June 2000) and as Menswear Designer of the Year (June 2001 and June 2005) and was honored as GQ's “Designer of the Year” in 2007.

The creative spirit and edginess intrinsic in the personal style of rock 'n' roll icons has inspired Varvatos and influenced the evolution of his eclectic sensibility. This can be seen as a unifying theme in his design and it is deeply ingrained in every expression of his brand, including his famed 315 Bowery boutique in New York City, formerly the seminal underground music club CBGB, where Varvatos pays tribute to the musical heritage of this legendary site.

With this unique brand position that unites a rock 'n' roll sensibility and old world craftsmanship with modern innovation, Varvatos has become one of the most well-known menswear designers in the world.

“It was important to us that the John Varvatosbrand's new partner had the experience to continue to support John's exceptional vision and the brand's growth potential,” said Eric Wiseman, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of VF Corporation. “We are pleased to place this great brand in such good hands.” Wiseman noted that the John Varvatos brand was added to VF Corporation's portfolio in conjunction with its 2003 acquisition of the Nautica brand.

Lyndon Lea, Partner of Lion Capital, said “Behind John's unique style and uncompromising vision, the John Varvatos brand has become one of the most exciting brands to enter the men's luxury apparel landscape in the past dozen years.”

“With a loyal and rapidly growing customer base, the brand is well positioned for future growth across multiple product lines and distribution channels both in the United States and internationally. We look forward to unlocking the substantial potential that we see within the brand over the next several years.”

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