US: Fifth & Pacific to buy out Kate Spade Japan
Apparel firm Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc (formerly Liz Claiborne Inc) is to buy its Kate Spade Japan business from a joint venture partner as part of an ongoing international push for the brand.
Under the deal, Sanei International will be bought out of its 51% stake in the Japanese joint venture. The purchase price of between $45m and $50m will include debt repayment and related transaction costs.
The move is part of what is described as "a robust international expansion" of Kate Spade New York, which includes recent store openings in the UK, Dubai, and Kuwait as well as further expansion into Brazil with additional store openings in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo planned for this summer.
"Kate Spade New York has a long and successful history in the Asian market," explains Craig Leavitt, CEO of Kate Spade New York.
"We believe the brand has a unique ability to continue to grow internationally and be relevant to consumers around the world. In order to realise our international potential, we believe partially or wholly owned business models better enable us to connect more directly to our consumers, understanding and investing in their preferences and tastes more keenly.
"It is our strategy to build a global company to support what is already quickly becoming a global brand."
The move to acquire the Japanese business aligns with Kate Spade New York's strategy to fully or partially own the majority of its Asia based businesses.
In May last year it announced a joint venture in the People's Republic of China with the E.land group to grow to nearly 300 points of distribution by 2020. At the same time it said it was buying back the Hong Kong South East Asia business from its long term distribution partner in January 2014.
The purchase of the Japanese business - the company's second largest market outside of the US - is expected to be completed in autumn 2012.
Kate Spade Japan currently operates 52 points of sale in the country, and achieved net sales of $71m in the year to 31 August 2011 - with growth of around 20% seen in the 12 months to April 2012.
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