Calvin Klein owner to buy Hilfiger label

American fashion label Tommy Hilfiger is to be bought by the owner of Calvin Klein in a deal worth €2.2bn, it was revealed today.

American fashion label Tommy Hilfiger is to be bought by the owner of Calvin Klein in a deal worth €2.2bn, it was revealed today.

Phillips-Van Heusen, which bought Calvin Klein in 2003, has agreed a deal to take over the clothing company, marking the second change of ownership in four years for Tommy Hilfiger.

The group was taken over by its current owners, British buyout group Apax Partners, in 2006 for $1.6bn (€1.17bn) at a troubled time for the brand.

Apax fought off competition from firms including Phillips-Van Heusen to secure the deal.

But Apax said the business was now “back to its old strengths” after an overhaul during the past four years.

The firm’s supplier base has been consolidated to save costs, alongside a number of changes made to get Tommy Hilfiger back on track following the boom in its popularity in the 1990s.

Apax partner Christian Stahl, who will join the Phillips-Van Heusen board after the sale, said: “In 2006, the business was suffering in the US and had lost its clear positioning – we saw the strength of the international business and together with the management team developed a clear strategy for repositioning and restructuring the US business.

“We invested heavily for growth and were able to crystallise the inherent value in this iconic brand.”

Tommy Hilfiger store numbers have nearly doubled to 1,002 from 574 in 2006, with its workforce also increasing by 1,000, according to Apax.

Apax has also overseen Hilfiger’s acquisition of its Japanese licensee, the launch of an exclusive department store distribution agreement with Macy’s in the US, the sale of its sourcing operations and the relaunch of its e-commerce business.

Incoming owner Phillips-Van Heusen already has a relationship with Tommy Hilfiger as part of a licensing agreement for the brand.

Apax was also previously a major shareholder in Phillips-Van Heusen after providing financial backing for its takeover of Calvin Klein in 2003. Other brands owned by Phillips-Van Heusen include Van Heusen, Bas and Arrow.

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