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Tommy Hilfiger Brand May Be Sold

Posted by Barry Silverstein on March 4, 2010 10:55 AM

The sale of Tommy Hilfiger, a leading premium fashion brand, may occur within weeks, reports the New York Post. The likely buyer? None other than Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (PVH), which already owns an impressive stable of fashion brands, including Arrow, Bass, Calvin Klein, Izod, and Van Heusen.

Tommy Hilfiger went from a public to a private company in 2006 when it was purchased by equity firm Apax Partners. Of course, that was before the global economic meltdown pummeled retail brands.

Apax was just about to take Tommy Hilfiger public again in an effort to re-capitalize the company when it "made a round of phone calls to potential buyers" to determine interest in the brand, says the New York Post. Apparently, PVH jumped at the chance. The rumored deal would have PVH owning the majority of Tommy Hilfiger while Apax would retain a 30 percent share.

The match may be a good one for both Tommy Hilfiger and PVH, since "PVH has been looking for a way to grow globally, while Hilfiger has been successfully expanding in Europe." But for rivals, a Hilfiger acquisition by PVH could be problematic. Increasingly, fashion brands have been consolidated under larger entities, like VF, whose brands include Lee, Nautica, The North Face, Wrangler, and Warnaco, owner of Chaps, Speedo, and some Calvin Klein lines.

Highly regarded independent brands are increasingly scarce, so Tommy Hilfiger would be a prized acquisition for PVH. Given a prior relationship with Apax, PVH is said to have "the insider's track" in a potential deal for the Hilfiger brand.

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