Los Angeles-based premium denim company Hudson Jeans will explore a sale in the coming months, according to two industry sources.
A source close to the situation said that Fireman Capital Partners, which owns a majority stake, is considering hiring an investment bank to explore strategic options for the company, including a sale.
Fireman Capital declined to comment.
The Boston-based investment firm announced its investment in Hudson Jeans on March 17, 2009. It did not disclose terms of the deal.
The source said Fireman Capital does not feel pressured to exit its investment, as Hudson Jeans continues to rack up solid growth numbers, including 50% revenue growth this year. Hudson Jeans generated about $60 million in revenue in 2009, according to The Boston Herald.
Hudson Jeans founder and chief executive Peter Kim said his company has a good working relationship with Fireman Capital and would like to see the firm retain its stake.
Kim, however, said that he is open-minded concerning a sale and is curious to see what financial options are available. The 40-year-old executive added that he excited about the future growth prospects for the brand and intends to stay involved with the company, with no plans to retire anytime soon.
Kim said that despite a shakeout in the premium denim segment over the last five years, with a number of denim brands such as Antik Denim (a brand of Blue Holdings Inc.), People's Liberation Inc., Paper Denim & Cloth and Blue Cult foundering and a bankrupt Rock & Republic Enterprises Inc., Hudson Jeans continues to rapidly grow.
He said 2010 was the company's best year ever, though he declined to provide financial details. The Boston Herald reported that Hudson Jeans had $60 million in revenue in 2009.
A second source close to Hudson Jeans indicated that company's revenues were up around the $90 million range, or above. Kim expects revenue to increase by 50% this year.
Fireman Capital was founded by Paul Fireman, the former chairman and chief executive of Reebok International Ltd. who sold the athletic footwear company to Adidas-Salomon AG for $3.8 billion in August 2005.
Kim founded Hudson Jeans in 2002 after helping his parents, who immigrated from Korea, revitalize their own apparel business in the late 1990s. Hudson Jeans sells in many of the major upscale department stores in the United States, including Neiman Marcus Group Inc., Saks Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and Bloomingdale's, a retail chain owned by Macy's Inc.
The company's jeans are manufactured in Los Angeles and the denim fabric is sourced from Europe and Japan, Kim explained.
If Hudson Jeans was to be acquired or attract new investment, it would join a long list of deals in recent years.
In March, VF Corp. paid $57 million to acquire premium denim label Rock & Republic's intellectual property. In February 2010, a consortium led by Star Avenue Capital LLC, a firm that is backed by Irving Place Capital Management LP, acquired 60% of J Brand Denim Co. for $85 million.
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