FINANCE

Neiman Marcus reaches $6 billion sale agreement

BY Dan Berthiaume

Dallas – Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have reached an agreement to purchase Neiman Marcus for $6 billion from a group of investors led by TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus, the private equity firms that bought Neiman Marcus for $5.1 billion in 2005.

“We are delighted to join with CPPIB as a long-term investor in Neiman Marcus Group, a leading luxury retailer with global brand recognition that attracts shoppers from all over the world,” said David Kaplan, senior partner and co-head of the Private Equity Group of Ares. “We share a common vision with the company’s management team, led by its highly respected CEO Karen Katz, and together, we plan on investing meaningful capital into the business to ensure Neiman’s long-term position as the unparalleled leader in luxury retail.”

In a prepared statement, Kaplan also said the Neiman Marcus purchase fits Ares’ strategy of accelerating growth in retail and consumer companies. Ares and CPPIB will hold an equal economic interest in Neiman Marcus, and the company’s management will retain a minority stake. Neiman Marcus filed for an IPO in June, but there is no indication an IPO will take place following the purchase.

"On behalf of the entire management team, we are delighted to be joining with Ares and CPPIB to continue enhancing our strong brands by offering our customers the best edited merchandise assortments as well as delivering a superlative omnichannel shopping experience,” said CEO Karen Katz. “For the past eight years, TPG and Warburg Pincus have been valued partners whose investment has supported our growth and strengthened our brands."

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor to Neiman Marcus Group, and RBC Capital Markets and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. acted as financial advisors to Ares and CPPIB, all of which provided committed debt financing in connection with the transaction.

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Be Like Jack: Lessons from a Hollywood Icon for Social Retail

BY Dan Berthiaume

The rapid spread of a presumably false rumor about Jack Nicholson retiring from acting last week got me thinking about what a true Hollywood icon he has become and how he took a very unique path to greatness. Retailers aspiring to greatness in their social efforts may want to “be like Jack” in the way they apply social media technology.

Know your own strengths
According to legend, a producer who rejected Nicholson for a part early in his career told him, “We don’t need you right now, but when we do need you, we’ll need you badly.” Nicholson was not a conventional leading man and did not become a Hollywood superstar by portraying conventional roles. He had a singular ability to find and project the humanity in troubled and even dangerous characters and make the audience understand and sympathize with them, and leveraged that ability to its fullest.

Retailers need to take a similar approach to their social strategies. An edgy, youth-oriented retailer should have a very different social marketing campaign from a mass merchandiser. A retailer with a highly efficient supply chain should take advantage of it with real-time or near-real-time social offers, while another retailer with superior customer satisfaction scores should use social media to create brand evangelists out of happy shoppers. There is no “right” path to social retail success any more than there was a “right” path for Nicholson to achieve superstardom.

Stay true to yourself
Once you know your own strengths, be willing to stay true to them, even if it does not produce immediate results. Nicholson was hardly an overnight sensation, plodding through years of bad 1960s horror and biker flicks before breaking through with a supporting role in the 1969 hit “Easy Rider” (a great 1960s biker flick). He was in his early 30s, far from young in Hollywood years, but by sticking to the kinds of performances he knew he was meant to play, Nicholson was able to become one of the biggest movie stars in the world for the next five decades.

Especially in the fast-paced world of digital retail, it’s easy to assume a social media strategy is a failure if it doesn’t instantly produce huge results. But if a strategy is properly aligned with a retailer’s core strengths and values, it is bound to eventually catch on and produce long-term success that following the latest short-term social retailing trends will not.

Stand out from the crowd
Nicholson did not rise to the top by being another pretty face on the silver screen. He stands out as a colorful and intriguing presence and has never been afraid to deviate from the norm in his performances.

Now that social media has lost its novelty as a retail channel, retailers need to also stand out from the crowd in their social activities. An appealing Facebook page and clever tweets are important, but not enough on their own to make customers take notice. Make your social presence colorful, intriguing and a little different. Use the real-time nature of social media to reward customers for active participation and use video, audio and even 3-D and artificial reality technologies to do things in your social space that couldn’t be done anywhere else. Jack Nicholson used film to create personal connections with millions of viewers; you can use social media to do the same with millions of consumers.


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B.Johnson says:
Sep-27-2013 03:31 am

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B.Johnson says:
Sep-27-2013 03:31 am

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Former Clorox exec appointed to natural health and wellness board

BY CSA STAFF

Nature’s Sunshine Products, a leading natural health and wellness company, has appointed former Clorox executive Beth Springer, to the company’s board of directors.

"We are excited to welcome Beth Springer to our board of directors," said Gregory L. Probert, Nature’s Sunshine chairman and CEO. "Beth brings significant, broad operational and financial experience to Nature’s Sunshine and the board that I know will benefit the company and its shareholders. We look forward to her guidance and strategic thinking as a member of the board."

Springer is currently a board member of Central Garden & Pet Company and on the board of trustees and co-chair of the Development Committee of Bryn Mawr College. Springer held various positions at the Clorox Company from 1990 to 2011, including EVP and general manager from 2009 to 2011; group VP, chief strategy and growth officer from 2007 to 2009; group VP and general manager from 2005 to 2007; VP and general manager from 2002 to 2004; and VP, marketing from 2000 to 2002. Springer received her A.B. from Bryn Mawr College, and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Nature’s Sunshine Products markets and distributes nutritional and personal care products through a global direct sales force of more than 340,000 active independent managers, distributors and customers in more than 40 countries. Nature’s Sunshine manufactures most of its products through its own state-of-the-art facilities.

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