New York, NY March 8, 2023 – WHP Global (“WHP” or “the Company”), a leading global brand management firm today announced a $375 million equity investment from funds managed by the Private Equity Group of Ares Management Corporation (“Ares”) (NYSE: ARES) providing significant growth capital for WHP Global’s next wave of brand acquisitions. The transaction values WHP Global at $1.6 billion.
Founded in 2019 by retail industry veteran Yehuda Shmidman together with funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), WHP Global is one of the fastest growing companies in the brand management industry. Today, WHP Global’s portfolio of brands generates more than $6.5 billion in global retail sales across three verticals including: Fashion anchored by Express, Anne Klein, and Joseph Abboud; Hardgoods anchored by Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us; and Athletic anchored by Lotto.
“WHP Global has experienced record-setting growth since its founding in 2019, and this new significant investment from Ares gives us a powerful edge to capitalize on today’s robust M&A market as we chart the course for our next phase of growth,” said Yehuda Shmidman, Chairman and CEO of WHP Global. “We’re thrilled for this partnership with Ares, and excited to advance our company alongside our existing shareholder base that includes Oaktree, Solus, Platform Founder Group and WHP employees.”
“Our investment in WHP Global serves as a testament to the strength of its platform and the go-forward growth opportunity,” said Jordan Smith, Partner in the Ares Private Equity Group. “We look forward to partnering with Yehuda and the WHP team on its mission to acquire and grow global consumer brands.”
As part of the transaction, Jordan Smith and Aaron Rosen, Partners in the Ares Private Equity Group will join WHP Global’s Board of Directors.
Thomas Casarella, Managing Director and Assistant Portfolio Manager in Oaktree’s Special Situations Group and Co-Founder of WHP Global, added, “It has been remarkable to watch WHP grow from day one with a single brand to the leading business it is today. This transaction serves as a meaningful milestone for WHP as we continue to build on the Company’s strong foundation. I join Yehuda in welcoming Ares to the WHP board and I’m confident that together we can help WHP reach even greater heights in the years to come.”
Proceeds from the transaction include adding significant cash to the Company’s balance sheet for future M&A.
Moelis & Company LLC acted as exclusive placement agent to WHP Global. Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to WHP Global on the transaction.
“WHP Global has experienced record-setting growth since its founding in 2019, and this new significant investment from Ares gives us a powerful edge to capitalize on today’s robust M&A market as we chart the course for our next phase of growth,”
About WHP Global
WHP Global is a leading New York based firm that acquires global consumer brands and invests in high-growth distribution channels including digital commerce platforms and global expansion. WHP Global owns ANNE KLEIN®, JOSEPH ABBOUD®, JOE’S JEANS®, ISAAC MIZRAHI®, WILLIAM RAST®, LOTTO®, TOYS“R”US®, BABIES“R”US and a 60% interest in the EXPRESS® brand. Collectively, the brands generate over USD $6.5 billion in global retail sales. The company also owns WHP+, a turnkey direct to consumer digital e-commerce platform for brands, with full in-house operations including technology, data analytics, logistics, creative and digital marketing and WHP SOLUTIONS, a sourcing agency based in Asia. For more information, please visit www.whp-global.com.
About Ares Management Corporation
Ares Management Corporation (NYSE: ARES) is a leading global alternative investment manager offering clients complementary primary and secondary investment solutions across the credit, private equity, real estate and infrastructure asset classes. We seek to provide flexible capital to support businesses and create value for our stakeholders and within our communities. By collaborating across our investment groups, we aim to generate consistent and attractive investment returns throughout market cycles. As of December 31, 2022, Ares Management Corporation’s global platform had approximately $352 billion of assets under management, with over 2,550 employees operating across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. For more information, please visit www.aresmgmt.com.
Oaktree is a leader among global investment managers specializing in alternative investments, with $170 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2022. The firm emphasizes an opportunistic, value-oriented and risk-controlled approach to investments in credit, private equity, real assets and listed equities. The firm has over 1,050 employees and offices in 20 cities worldwide. For additional information, please visit Oaktree’s website at www.oaktreecapital.com.