Gant fashion empire sold to 3I consortium for $100m

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The Independent Online

The Gant clothing brand, which is associated with a preppy look of chinos and casualwear, has been sold to a consortium of investors including 3i, the UK venture-capital group.

Gant was part-owned by the US clothing group Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, an LVMH-backed equity fund and three Swedish entrepreneurs. They are creating a new company to buy the business out together with 3i.

The result is that Van Heusen nets $19m for its 21 per cent stake, valuing Gant at $100m (£67m). Under the terms of the deal Gant has an enterprise value of $125m. Gant recorded sales of €87m (£60m) last year and was modestly profitable.

Gant was founded on America's east coast in 1949 but in 1980 three Swedish entrepreneurs were granted the rights to design and market the name in Sweden and then all markets outside the US. In 1999 they acquired all the global rights to the brand.

Gant products are sold in 50 countries. As well as clothing it also produces eyewear, shoes, watches and home furnishings.

The business was recently awarded a license by Elizabeth Arden to manufacture and distribute Gant perfumes. Gant womenswear is due to be launched in 10 countries next year.

Gustav Bard, managing director of 3i in Sweden, said: "Gant is a unique company which over the last 20 years has developed a leading international brand within its market segment. The company has a refined business concept and is led by a first-class management team."

Phillips-Van Heusen recently aquired Calvin Klein. Its other brands inlcude GH Bass, DKNY and Van Heusen.