Guess and WHP join forces to buy New York fashion brand Rag & Bone

Guess, the American denim and apparel company, and WHP Global, the brand management firm, have announced a deal to acquire Rag & Bone, the New York-based fashion brand. The deal involves Guess buying the operating assets of Rag & Bone, and both Guess and WHP jointly owning the brand’s intellectual property.

Rag & Bone: A premium denim brand with a designer aspiration

Rag & Bone was founded in 2002 by Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, two British expats who wanted to create a premium denim brand with a distinctive style and quality. The brand expanded into a full-fledged fashion label, offering ready-to-wear, footwear, and accessories for men and women, with a focus on craftsmanship, innovation, and urban sensibility.

Rag & Bone
Rag & Bone

The brand has a loyal customer base and a strong presence in the US and international markets. It operates 34 stores in the US and two in the UK, and sells through various wholesale and online channels. It also participates in the New York Fashion Week, showcasing its collections to the media and buyers.

The brand’s revenue for 2023 was 250 million dollars, with an adjusted EBITDA of 18 million dollars. However, the brand has also faced some challenges and changes in recent years, such as the departure of its cofounder Neville in 2016, the stepping down of its other cofounder Wainwright as chief brand officer in 2020, and the hiring of Robert Geller as the new menswear designer in 2021.

Guess and WHP: A strategic partnership to grow Rag & Bone

Guess and WHP have teamed up to buy Rag & Bone, in a deal that is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Guess will contribute 56.5 million dollars to acquire the operating assets of Rag & Bone, and both Guess and WHP will equally own the brand’s intellectual property. There is also a potential for an additional earnout consideration of up to 12.8 million dollars, based on the sales and EBITDA performance of Rag & Bone in 2024.

The deal marks the first acquisition for Guess, which is known for its jeans, apparel, and accessories for men and women. Guess has a global platform, with a distribution network of over 1,600 stores in over 100 countries, and a licensee network of over 120 partners. Guess also owns and operates other brands, such as Marciano, G by Guess, and Guess Factory.

The deal also marks the latest investment for WHP, which is a brand management firm that owns and operates a portfolio of global consumer brands, such as Anne Klein, Joseph Abboud, and Toys “R” Us. WHP has a track record of acquiring, managing, and growing brands, leveraging its expertise in marketing, e-commerce, licensing, and distribution.

The partnership between Guess and WHP aims to grow and expand Rag & Bone, by providing it with the resources, infrastructure, and capabilities to enhance its product portfolio, distribution channels, pricing strategy, and marketing investments. Rag & Bone will continue to operate as an independent fashion brand, based in New York, with its existing team.

Rag & Bone: A new chapter in its history

The acquisition of Rag & Bone by Guess and WHP is a significant milestone in the history of the brand, as it opens up new opportunities and possibilities for its future. The brand’s chairman, Andrew Rosen, who is also the founder and former CEO of Theory, said in a statement: “I am thrilled about this new relationship with Guess and WHP Global. Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter as Rag & Bone joins forces with a much larger international fashion company. It’s a great opportunity for our team to take the brand to the next level, blending our unique styles and respective expertise to create new possibilities for Rag & Bone on a global scale.”

The brand’s CEO, Stefanie Strack, who joined the company in 2019, said in a statement: “We are incredibly proud of what we have built at Rag & Bone and are excited to partner with Guess and WHP Global to accelerate our growth and reach new customers around the world. We believe that this partnership will enable us to leverage the strengths and synergies of each organization, while preserving the integrity and DNA of our brand.”

The brand’s creative director, Marcus Wainwright, who cofounded the brand with David Neville, said in a statement: “This is a very exciting moment for Rag & Bone. I am grateful for the amazing journey we have had over the past 20 years and look forward to working with Guess and WHP Global to take the brand to new heights. I am confident that together we will continue to create products that are authentic, innovative, and relevant for our customers.”

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