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G-III Apparel buys luxury swimwear brand Vilebrequin
Aug '12
G-III Apparel Group Ltd. announced that it has acquired Vilebrequin, a leading global provider of luxury swimwear, accessories and resort-wear. The total purchase price is €85.5 million (approximately $106.2 million), subject to certain post-closing adjustments, of which €70.5 million (approximately $87.6 million) was paid in cash and €15 million (approximately $18.6 million) was paid by unsecured promissory notes, due December 31, 2017, with interest at the rate of 5% per year.

In addition to the purchase price, the agreement provides for up to an additional €22.5 million (approximately $27.9 million) of contingent future payments based upon achieving certain performance objectives related to growth over the three years ending December 31, 2015.

The cash portion of the purchase price was funded by G-III's newly expanded $450 million bank facility. The acquisition is expected to be neutral to G-III's net income per share in its fiscal year ending January 31, 2013, excluding acquisition and integration expenses.

Vilebrequin, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, has been owned since 2007 by Fashion Fund I B.V., a private equity fund focusing on majority investments in mid to later stage companies that are active in the apparel and accessories segment of the European fashion industry.

Vilebrequin sells its products through a network of 185 owned and franchised specialty retail stores and shops, as well as through select wholesale distribution, and reported sales for the twelve months ended December 31, 2011 of €45.1 million (approximately $55.9 million using the current exchange rate).

G-III believes that the brand is capable of significant worldwide expansion. A substantial majority of Vilebrequin's current revenues are derived from sales in Europe and the United States.

Roland Herlory, most recently Managing Director of Hermès running the Latin America and Caribbean territories, has agreed to join Vilebrequin as its Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2012. Roland was employed by Hermès for over 23 years. Roland's expertise is in luxury retail and product development. Christian Blanckaert will join as Chairman of Vilebrequin's newly established Advisory Board.

Christian is the Chairman of the Board of Petit Bateau and serves on the Board of Moncler. He has been involved in the luxury business for more than twenty years previously serving as President of Comite Colbert and Executive Vice President of Hermès International. Christian is Professor of Management at ESCP in Paris and is also an author of several books on luxury.

G-III also noted that, as part of the transaction, Adu Advaney, co-founder of Fashion Fund I B.V., has joined Vilebrequin's Board as Vice Chairman.

Morris Goldfarb, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of G-III Apparel Group, commented, "We have stated publicly our desire to own a global brand. An opportunity to acquire a preeminent luxury brand such as Vilebrequin does not happen very often. Vilebrequin sets a global standard for excellence and commands exceptional loyalty at a premium price in each of its markets.

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