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Carlyle buys stake in Italian apparel brand Light Force
03
Jul '12
Global Alternative Asset Manager The Carlyle Group announced it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase a majority stake in Light Force SpA, owner of Italian womenswear brand Twin Set Simona Barbieri, from founders Tiziano Sgarbi and Simona Barbieri and Italian-based growth capital fund DGPA Capital.

Integral to the transaction, Carlyle has formed a partnership with Mr Tiziano Sgarbi and Mrs Simona Barbieri to develop and grow the Twin-Set brand. Mr. Sgarbi and Mrs. Barbieri will continue to manage day-to-day operations at the company and will retain a significant minority interest in Light Force SpA.

DGPA Capital will divest its total holdings. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in August 2012, were not disclosed.

“Light Force has gained market share and prestige in the Italian apparel market thanks to the extraordinary talent and outstanding work of its founders and the support of its shareholders,” said Marco De Benedetti, Managing Director and Co-head of Carlyle Europe Buyout.

“We are delighted to continue the work already started and together with the founders we look forward to bringing the company through the next stage of growth. We’ll do so by providing the financial and managerial resources that are necessary to seize the opportunities offered by both the Italian and international fashion markets.”

Over the last four years, the Twin Set Simona Barbieri brand has delivered significant revenue growth. In 2011 revenues exceeded € 103 million, an increase of almost 400% since 2007.

Light Force is headquartered in Carpi (Modena, Italy) and, with approximately 300 employees, is one of the fastest growing Italian companies in the womenswear “accessible luxury” sector. In addition to 16 dedicated Twin-Set stores, the collection is distributed through a network of authorized retailers and a dedicated online sales channel.

“I am convinced that partnership with a global, committed and highly experienced private equity firm can benefit Italian companies. This is particularly true for our company, which aspires to grow in size and seize the opportunities coming from international markets that value the ‘Made in Italy’ label of quality,” said Tiziano Sgarbi, Founder and CEO of Light Force.

“We expect our partnership with Carlyle to deliver significant value creation and growth opportunities for the brand.”

“I am so pleased the Twin-Set brand continues to find strong appreciation and recognition from both our customers and the people who interact in various ways with the company and its work,” said Simona Barbieri Founder and Creative Director of Light Force.

“Together with my creative team, we have many important new ideas and we are ready for exciting new challenges in our partnership with Carlyle.”

"We are pleased with the direction taken by the founders of Light Force,” said Roberta Benaglia Founder and Managing Director of Dgpa Capital fund. “Together with them we exceeded the objectives we set for ourselves at the time of our entry in 2008. We believe that the same values, skills and enthusiasm that allowed us to achieve our growth plan will enable the company to successfully tackle the next stage of development.”

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