WHP Global Acquires Controlling Stake in Isaac Mizrahi® Fashion Brand
WHP Global (“WHP”), a leading global brand management firm and Xcel Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ: XELB) (“Xcel” or the “Company”), a media and consumer products company with significant expertise in livestream shopping on TV and online, today announced that WHP will purchase a controlling 70% interest in fashion brand Isaac Mizrahi.
The transaction, valued at $68 million, includes $46.2 million in cash proceeds to Xcel, which will retain a 30% minority interest in the Isaac Mizrahi brand. Under the terms of a services agreement with WHP Global, Xcel will continue to manage the QVC business with WHP Global and has entered into a new license agreement to design and distribute Isaac Mizrahi apparel in the US and Canada.
Isaac Mizrahi is an iconic fashion brand that celebrates timeless, cosmopolitan style. Isaac Mizrahi, the American designer, launched his eponymous label in 1987 to critical acclaim, later earning four CFDA awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Isaac’s designs have been seen on influential women such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Audrey Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Rihanna, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Selma Blair, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Carla Bruni. The Isaac Mizrahi brand has generated more than $1 billion in retail sales since its founding and today is among the top fashion brands on QVC.
“The Isaac Mizrahi business has grown for 12 years straight under Xcel’s stewardship and we’re pleased to now partner with WHP to continue the brand’s global momentum,” said Robert W. D’Loren, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xcel Brands. “Selling a majority interest in the Isaac Mizrahi brand is a transformative moment in Xcel’s history and represents the first time we have monetized one of our brands since Xcel was founded in 2011. Xcel is now debt-free, with over $17 million in cash and $22 million of working capital on our balance sheet, which will help fuel a number of our upcoming strategic initiatives as we concentrate our resources on growing our brands, new brand launches and investing in livestreaming technology platforms and partnerships.”
Isaac Mizrahi, who will continue to serve as Chief Design Officer of his namesake brand, said, “I’m very excited to harness the power of my brand. I couldn’t ask for better partners.”
With the addition of Isaac Mizrahi, WHP Global owns and manages over $4.2 billion in retail sales across its portfolio of brands, making it one of the largest and fastest-growing brand management firms in the world.
Yehuda Shmidman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at WHP Global, stated, “We are excited to partner with Isaac and Xcel as we work together to architect and orchestrate the next phase of growth for the Isaac Mizrahi fashion house. We see meaningful opportunities to expand the brand by leveraging WHP Global’s platform and the reach of our fashion vertical, which now includes Anne Klein, Joseph Abboud, Joe’s Jeans, William Rast and Isaac Mizrahi.”
The Isaac Mizrahi brand features a variety of product categories, including sportswear, footwear, handbags, watches, eyewear, tech accessories, home and other merchandise. The brand is available across various distribution channels, including better department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Hudson’s Bay; interactive television, including QVC and The Shopping Channel; national specialty retailers; and internationally in Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan.