Business

L.A. private-equity firm buys Lucky Brand Jeans for $225 million

Economy, Business and FinanceCorporate OfficersFifth & Pacific Cos.JC Penney Company Inc.

Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc. has agreed to sell Lucky Brand Jeans to Los Angeles private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners for $225 million, the companies announced Tuesday.

William L. McComb, Fifth & Pacific's chief executive, said the Lucky sale is part of the company's plan to focus on its Kate Spade brand. The company recently sold its  Juicy Couture line.

"It is truly an historic day at Fifth & Pacific Companies -- a return to our roots as a mono-brand company," McComb said in a statement. "The decision to sell Lucky Brand Jeans is the result of a process we began last year: studying [the] operating risks and opportunities associated with a multibrand portfolio.

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"We believe that by focusing all of our resources on the huge opportunity at Kate Spade, we can deliver the strongest value creation opportunity for our shareholders. This is all about bringing Kate Spade to its full potential."

Leonard Green will pay $140 million in cash at closing, with the remaining $85 million financed through a three-year note. The firm also owns stakes in other specialty retailers, including J. Crew Group Inc. and Sports Authority Inc.

Fifth & Pacific, formerly Liz Claiborne Inc., changed its name last year after selling the namesake brand to J.C. Penney Co.

McComb has trimmed the company’s portfolio from more than 30 brands when he started in 2006, according to Bloomberg News. After the Lucky Brand sale, just two -- Kate Spade and the Adelington Design Group jewelry line -- will remain.

Shares of Fifth & Pacific rose more than 1% in early trading on Wall Street. The stock had more than doubled this year.

Lucky Brand, founded in Los Angeles in 1990, has been revitalized in recent years as Chief Executive David DeMattei built fashions and accessories around the denim line and added skinny stretch jeans to appeal to women.

Fifth & Pacific operated 239 Lucky Brand stores at the end of September. The label generated sales of $346 million in the first nine months of the year.

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Economy, Business and FinanceCorporate OfficersFifth & Pacific Cos.JC Penney Company Inc.
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