B. Riley acquired the shares from bebe Stores Inc founder Manny Mashouf.
Mashouf, who plans to step down from his roles at bebe in the near future, will continue to own approximately 4% of bebe’s outstanding shares of common stock.
bebe is best known for its contemporary women’s clothing and fashion accessories. It was B. Riley’s first brand licensing investment that led to the formation of its expanded brand portfolio with equity interests in Hurley, Justice, and Scotch and Soda, as well as controlling interests in six other brands – Catherine Malandrino, English Laundry, Joan Vass, Nanette Lepore, Limited Too, and Kensie.
“Manny is a fashion innovator and the vision behind bebe during his 45-plus year tenure as chairman and CEO. We greatly appreciate his continued leadership since our involvement with the company in 2018,” said Bryant Riley, chairman and co-CEO of B. Riley Financial.
He continues: “This is an opportune time to increase our investment in bebe, and we expect that our expanded involvement in bebe’s operations will add value based on our extensive experience in brand licensing and deep understanding of the rent-to-own industry. We expect this transaction to be accretive to B. Riley’s EBITDA.”
Riley points out bebe’s brand licensing investments have generated approximately $11m per year in cash flow before corporate expenses to bebe over the past three years.
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He explains: “We highly value this business model because royalties are historically stable and yield contractually obligated minimum payments from licensees. In addition to the licensing business, we believe that the Buddy’s rent-to-own segment, which contributed $8m of EBITDA in 2021 but suffered from ensuing inflationary pressures in 2022 and 2023, will revert back to normalised operating profit of approximately $6m, before corporate expenses, over time.”