Express Inc and WHP are forming an intellectual property joint venture valued at approximately US$400m with WHP investing $235m for 60% ownership of the company.

The joint venture (JV) is expected to scale the Express apparel retail brand through new domestic category licensing and international expansion opportunities.

“Our Expressway Forward strategy has reinvigorated our brand and rebuilt the foundation of our company, paving the way for this bold next chapter in our transformation,” said Tim Baxter, Express CEO. “Our partnership with WHP will drive greater scale and profitability of the Express brand through its category licensing and international expertise and strengthen our balance sheet. We expect to accelerate our growth by acquiring multiple brands in partnership with WHP and operating them on our platform. Both of these are expected to drive shareholder value.”

This transaction is expected to provide the following significant financial and operational benefits:

  • Capitalise on strength of Express as a fully integrated omnichannel platform. Express will be ideally positioned to participate in anticipated retail industry consolidation and pursue acquisitions with WHP and is expected to expand its brand portfolio to accelerate growth and profitability. Through synergistic mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Express will leverage its platform to drive cost savings and margin expansion.
  • Scale existing multi-billion-dollar Express brand through intellectual property joint venture. This partnership is expected to accelerate growth for the Express brand through licensing in non-core categories and international expansion by leveraging WHP’s expertise.
  • Strengthen Express balance sheet by providing capital to acquire brands and reduce debt. Express will maintain its disciplined approach to capital deployment and is working with WHP to identify compelling, accretive brand acquisition opportunities.
  • Accelerate WHP growth. The strategic partnership is expected to provide WHP with a best-in-class operating platform to broaden its M&A pipeline.

The global growth potential of the Express brand and the Express omnichannel platform will give our company a distinct competitive edge as we look to acquire more consumer brands,” said Yehuda Shmidman, WHP Global chairman and CEO. “We are excited to partner with Tim and his management team and view this partnership as a huge win for both of our companies.

“By scaling the Express brand and identifying opportunities to expand our portfolio, we will leverage our platform to accelerate growth, generate operating margin expansion and drive profitability. We have found the right partner in WHP and look forward to welcoming Yehuda to our board of directors.”