Fifth & Pacific sells Lucky Brand Jeans; will focus on Kate Spade
New York — Fifth & Pacific Companies will sell its Lucky Brand Jeans division to an affiliate of Leonard Green & Partners for $225 million as it focuses on its fast-growing Kate Spade brand.
"We believe that by focusing all of our resources on the huge opportunity at Kate Spade, we can deliver the strongest value creation opportunity for our shareholders,” said William L. McComb, CEO of Fifth & Pacific (formerly known as Liz Claiborne). “This is all about bringing Kate Spade to its full potential.”
The deal, which calls for $140 million of the sale price to be paid in cash at closing and the remaining $85 million to be financed in the form of a three year seller note, is expected to close in first quarter 2014.
“It is truly an historic day at Fifth & Pacific Companies — a return to our roots as a mono-brand company,” said McComb.
Fifth & Pacific said that Lucky Brand Jeans will assume the proportionate share of its sourcing contract with Li & Fung as well as some of its other obligations.
Wal-Mart International names new CEO
Bentonville, Ark. – Wal-Mart Stores named David Cheesewright, 51, as the new president and CEO of Walmart International. He succeeds Douglas McMillon, who is set to become the chain’s CEO, the retailer’s top executive. Both assume their new roles on Feb. 1, 2014.
Cheesewright’s successor will be named at a later date. His Wal-Mart career began in 1999 at Asda, the company’s U.K. operation, where he held leadership positions in operations, merchandising, logistics, strategy and format development. He was the CEO for both Walmart Canada and Asda before being named CEO of Wal-Mart Canada. In 2011, he was named to his current position as president and CEO of Wal-Mart’s EMEA and Canada region. Before his career with Walmart, Cheesewright held leadership positions in the U.K. with Mars Confectionery.
The international division is Wal-Mart’s second largest business after the U.S. operations and generates nearly 30% of the company’s revenue. It includes more than 6,300 stores in 26 countries outside the U.S.
"I’m honored to be named to lead our international business at a time when our customers around the world need us more than ever," said Cheesewright. "A tremendous opportunity lies ahead for our company. Our success is dependent on our associates, and I’m committed to investing in them. Together, we will find innovative and sustainable ways to serve our customers and provide them with the quality, affordable products they expect from us. Through strong capital discipline, we will continue to invest in new stores and e-commerce growth, as well as productivity improvements that drive profitable growth and returns."
Lululemon names new CEO; founder to step down as chairman
Vancouver, British Columbia — Lululemon Athletica Inc. on Tuesday named Laurent Potdevin as CEO, and also announced founder Chip Wilson will step down as non-executive chairman. Potdevin, most recently president of Toms Shoes, will replace Lululemon’s current CEO, Christine Day, in January, and will also become a director at that time. Prior to Toms, he served as president and CEO of Burton Snowboards from 2005 – 2010.
“After a thorough search, Laurent emerged as the natural choice to lead our continued growth and global expansion," said Michael Casey, lead director of the company’s board of directors and member of the CEO search committee. "We believe Lululemon will benefit from Laurent’s leadership experience and proven track record of success in building global brands. He has more than two decades of experience at premium, technical athletic apparel, and lifestyle-centric retail companies, and his shared passion for driving innovative, community-focused brands makes him an excellent cultural fit for Lululemon. Additionally, his deep understanding of the importance of top-quality technical design, retail marketing strategies, and the power of building a strong brand provides him with the tools we believe are necessary to lead our next exciting phase of growth."
The announcement come as the women’s yoga-wear retailer tries to regain its footing after a major product quality issue resulted in a lawsuit and some other gaffes, including public remarks by Wilson that not all women’s bodies are a good fit for Lululemon’s yoga pants. His remarks caused widespread condemnation and also a significant drop in the company’s stock price.
Lululemon’s current CEO announced her decision to resign in June 2013, but said she would stay until a successor was found.
Wilson, who founded Lululemon in 1998 and owns about 9% of the company, will step down as non-executive chairman prior to Lululemon’s annual meeting in June. Wilson, who will remain on the board, is being replaced by Michael Casey, lead director of the board.