NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WHP Global (“WHP” or the “Company”) announced its launch today as a new brand management platform led by Chairman & CEO Yehuda Shmidman and backed by a $200 million equity commitment from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”).
WHP was founded to acquire and manage multiple global consumer brands, leveraging a shared platform to unlock competitive advantages at scale and fuel growth for each distinctive brand in its portfolio. The Company plans to deploy up to $1 billion in capital over the next five years.
The Company also today announced its first acquisition with the purchase of global fashion brand Anne Klein from Premier Brands Group. An iconic legacy women’s fashion brand founded in 1968, Anne Klein serves women around the world with classic American style. The brand currently generates over $700 million in global retail sales with product distributed by best-in-class partners including Steve Madden for footwear and handbags, Kasper Group for sportswear, and E. Gluck for watches.
“The seismic changes in the retail industry have created a unique opportunity for us to form a fresh platform,” said Yehuda Shmidman, WHP Chairman and CEO. “Together with the strength of Oaktree, we have the pipeline, team and capital to leverage this opportunity and scale.”
Prior to WHP, Yehuda Shmidman held several c-suite roles in the brand management industry, where he raised and invested nearly $2 billion of institutional capital in fashion, home, entertainment and consumer brands. He is the founder of Wave Hill Partners, a corporate business development advisory firm, and currently serves as Vice Chairman for the parent company of Toys"R"Us.
“With a strong track record of successfully identifying and growing global consumer brands, Yehuda and his team are the right partners to build WHP and develop a robust portfolio of consumer brands, optimized to operate in today’s retail landscape, as well as into the future,” said Thomas Casarella, Managing Director at Oaktree and member of the WHP Board of Directors.
“With its extensive heritage and strong sales base, Anne Klein is the perfect brand to kick off the WHP portfolio. We believe there is ample opportunity for even further growth and look forward to supporting this iconic brand’s next chapter,” added Ted Crockin, Vice President at Oaktree and member of the WHP Board of Directors.
As part of WHP, Anne Klein will sharpen its focus on driving growth with key retailers in the US, including Macy’s, as well as identifying new categories and expanding globally. WHP plans to invest significantly in marketing, social media and digital commerce to drive increased brand engagement.
Ralph Schipani, CEO of Premier Brands Group, stated, “The Anne Klein brand is in good hands, and we are excited to continue our involvement as a long-term licensee for multiple categories including sportswear and jewelry.” Schipani added, “The divestiture aligns with our focus of being a leading wholesaler of women's apparel, jeanswear, and accessories to major U.S. and international retailers.”
In connection with the Anne Klein transaction, Pryor Cashman LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP served as legal advisors to WHP Global and affiliates, and Guggenheim Securities and Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP served as financial and legal advisor, respectively, to Premier Brands Group. Debt financing for the acquisition was provided by BlackRock Private Credit, including TCP Capital Corp., BlackRock Capital Corp. and certain private investment funds.
About WHP Global
WHP Global represents the future of brand management. The New York-based firm specializes in acquiring global consumer brands and strategically repositioning them by leveraging high-growth distribution channels and global digital commerce platforms, in addition to introducing new product categories that are relevant to today’s consumer. For more information, visit https://www.whp-global.com/.
Oaktree is a leader among global investment managers specializing in alternative investments, with $119 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2019. 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 950 employees and offices in 18 cities worldwide. For additional information, please visit Oaktree’s website at www.oaktreecapital.com.