Blog: M&A juggernaut continues apace

Petah Marian | 6 June 2012

The M&A juggernaut continued apace last week after private equity firm Sycamore Partners reached a deal to acquire troubled US women's wear retailer Talbots for US$2.75 a share - a significant drop on its recent US$3.05 per share offer.

The deal came less than a week after the two companies let an exclusive negotiating period expire after saying they had been unable to reach an agreement on the sale of the business.

The Jones Group also revealed it is to acquire the Brian Atwood footwear brand. The move will help accelerate the development of Brian Atwood as a global luxury brand,"supporting the expansion of his vision into other categories".

Indeed, the past week or so has seen some late spring-cleaning from Hanesbrands and Nike.

Hanesbrands announced plans to cut the production of basic apparel used in screen printing, exit its private label business, the Outer Banks sportswear brand, and sell its European operations. Earlier this year the company admitted that tougher competition has led to rapid price declines in its imagewear business.

And Nike is to sell its Cole Haan and Umbro lines so it can focus on growing its Nike, Jordan, Converse and Hurley brands. Speculation over who might acquire the two brands has already seen Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley tipped as a potential bidder for football specialist Umbro.

Some US apparel retailers found reason to smile last week, with many recording stronger May sales. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, US retailers, excluding drug stores, recorded a 4% sales increase during the month.

As the UK returns to work after a very wet four-day Jubilee holiday, industry pundits have suggested that good weather would be one of the major factors in boosting retail sales. While analysts expect a short-term lift, they largely argued it would come on the back of several months of pretty dismal sales.

Meanwhile, smart textiles and wearable technology have the potential to change the way people dress, communicate, respond to emergencies and even entertain themselves. This fascinating four-part management briefing looks at the opportunities and risks in this nascent sector.


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