Could Tommy Hilfiger be next?
After yesterday's talk of Permira selling Valentino, today there are rumors of selling Tommy Hilfiger Corp. Apax Partners, the private equity firm that has owned the corporation for almost four years, has been talking with other companies to gauge their interest in acquiring Hilfiger, while at the same time continuing to explore an initial offering.
Apax owns about 80 percent of Hilfiger and wanted to cash out its stake in October 2007, exploring an offering on the Euronext stock exchange. That idea was postponed indefinitely in early 2008 because of market volatility.
The lead candidate Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. has been openly looking for acquisitions. A deal with PVH would not only give them the Hilfiger name, but several international deals, an exclusive deal with Macy's and a strong foothold in the European and Asian markets.
But buying the Hilfiger name could be a bit of a stretch for PVH, which has about $480 million in cash on hand. Sources said one option for PVH could be to structure a deal that resembled its acquisition of Calvin Klein, in which PVH used funds from Apax as well as some of its own money to buy the business. Apax then received a stake in PVH, which the equity firm sold when it bought Hilfiger in 2006.
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