FINANCE

Private equity firm TowerBrook Capital to acquire True Religion for $835 million

BY Dan Berthiaume

Vernon, Calif. — True Religion Apparel has entered into a definitive merger agreement with New York and London-based investment management firm TowerBrook Capital Partners, in a transaction valued at approximately $835 million.

Under the terms of the deal, which was unanimously approved by the True Religion board, TowerBrook will acquire all of the outstanding shares of True Religion common stock for $32.00 per share in cash. The brand, whose upscale jeans and sportswear products are sold in department stores and specialty stores around the world, also operates 124 stores in the United States and 31 international locations.

“TowerBrook’s investment is an important endorsement of the True Religion brand, its prospects and the hard work and commitment of our team,” said Lynne Koplin, interim CEO and president of True Religion. “At this critical inflection point in our business, global growth and product development effort, TowerBrook’s support and experience will be a true differentiator. TowerBrook’s long-term approach toward investment and brand stewardship will best enable True Religion to maintain its leadership position in the marketplace.”

TowerBrook has previously made control-oriented investments in companies such as Jimmy Choo, Odlo, BevMo! and Phase Eight.

True Religion also released its Q1 fiscal 2013 results Friday. Highlights include a 13.1% total net sales increase to $120.8 million from the same period in 2012, although net income declined from $10.4 million to $0.5 million. In March, True Religion CEO and founder Jeff Lubell stepped down and was named chairman emeritus and a creative consultant.

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STORE SPACES

Marks & Spencer puts new spin on ‘clicks & bricks’ with innovative Amsterdam store

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — British retailer Marks & Spencer takes a giant leap forward in its goal of becoming a multichannel leader with the opening of its innovative new concept store in Amsterdam. The centerpiece of the 5,000-sq.-ft. space — which marks M&S’ return to the Netherlands after a 10-year absence — is an “E-Boutique” dedicated to womenswear. The shop features what the retailer calls “the world’s first virtual rail,” a display that seamlessly integrates digital rails with physical rails of clothing samples. It is made up of three stacked 46-inch video screens and three physical rails, each holding about 50 items of clothing. The display will showcase the latest trends, and be updated every six weeks.

Shoppers can place orders for free delivery to the store through in-store order points or with iPad-equipped associates. They can also shop via their own mobile phones, using the store’s free WiFi.

Customers can also “shop to go,” choosing from the edited selection of fashions that are available to buy in-store on any given day.

“The Netherlands has embraced online shopping — customers adore the ease and convenience of buying clothes this way, which is why we were determined to return with our very latest multichannel thinking,” said Laura Wade-Gery, executive director e-commerce multichannel at Marks & Spencer. “The E-boutique … allows us to offer our latest fashion collections from a much smaller footprint.”

The rest of the store is dedicated primarily to food and beverages, ranging from sandwiches, salads, and wines to M&S’ signature prepared meals and groceries.

The Amsterdam concept shop is just the beginning of M&S’ push into the Netherlands. The company has also launched a new Dutch website, and plans to open a full-line store in The Hague, in 2014, and a flagship in Amsterdam, by spring 2015.

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News

Former Macy’s exec lands on feet at Miami Ballet

BY CSA STAFF

Miami, Fla. — Miami City Ballet’s Board of Trustees today elected former Macy’s executive Susan D. Kronick as its new president of the board.

Kronick is a retail marketing and merchandising strategist who served as vice chairman of Macy’s from March 2003 until March 2010. In that role, she was responsible for approximately $25 billion in sales and 850 Macy’s and Bloomingdales stores nationwide. She also served as group president of regional department stores at Macy’s from April 2001 to February 2003, and as chairman and CEO of Macy’s Florida from June 1997 to March 2001. Kronick also was a director of the Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. from March 1999 to February 2010.

”I am excited and honored to be part of Miami City Ballet,” said Kronick, “particularly at a time when the cultural life of South Florida is exploding with energy and creative force. Our internationally acclaimed company has a magnificent legacy, supremely talented dancers and an exhilarating future. The beauty, power and discipline of dance have been important to me since I was six years old. And sometimes you are fortunate when life brings you full circle.”

Kronick succeeds James Eroncig who served as board president throughout the last two seasons and led Miami City Ballet’s transition to new artistic director, Lourdes Lopez.

“We are thrilled that Sue has been elected as our next MCB board president,” said Miami City Ballet artistic director Lourdes Lopez. “Sue has been a devoted supporter of all the arts and especially dance. She brings with her a deep understanding and love of the art form, that combined with her experience as a leading retail executive, brand builder and board member will ensure the community’s support of Miami City Ballet as one of the world’s leading ballet companies. Sue’s guidance and contribution will help advance Miami City Ballet’s leadership role in the continued cultural development of South Florida.”

In addition to her new responsibilities at Miami City Ballet, Kronick is a member of the board of directors of Hyatt Hotels Corporation and a trustee of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. She has served on numerous civic boards including Exodus Cities and Schools for at-risk children in Atlanta and has been a strong advocate of women’s health issues. She and her husband were the co-chairs of the grand opening of the Frank Gehry New World Center, home to the New World Symphony, which opened in January 2011.

“I applaud the selection of Sue Kronick as the new president of Miami City Ballet’s board,” said Miami City Ballet executive director Daniel J. Hagerty. “Sue’s unparalleled business, management and marketing experience will be enormous assets to carry Miami City Ballet and Miami City Ballet School to an even higher level of excellence.”

Kronick is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Connecticut College where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in Asian studies with a minor in dance. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the American Jewish Committee’s Human Relations Award and the Connecticut College Medal, the college’s highest alumni honor. She lives on Miami Beach with her husband, Edward Manno Shumsky, who is vice chairman of the New World Symphony.

Miami City Ballet, led by artistic director Lourdes Lopez, has more than 40 dancers and a repertoire of more than 90 ballets.

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