WHP Global Launches as Brand Management Firm, Buys Anne Klein

WHP Inside Licensing

New brand management firm WHP Global agreed to buy the Anne Klein label, with plans to acquire additional brands as part of a broad licensing strategy. Former Sequential Brands Group CEO Yehuda Shmidman is CEO of WHP, which is backed by funding from Oaktree Capital Management

In buying Anne Klein from Premier Brand Holdings – known as Nine West Holdings until emerging from bankruptcy in March – WHP maintains existing licensing pacts with Steven Madden (women’s footwear, handbags), The Kasper Group (women’s tops, dresses, pants), The Jewelry Group (bracelets, necklaces, earrings) and E. Gluck (women’s watches). Premier owns Kasper and The Jewelry Group. The 51-year-old Anne Klein brand, sold largely through department store chains, has $700 million in annual retail sales in the U.S., South Korea and Latin America.

Terms of the sale, including the purchase price, weren’t disclosed. But Oaktree is supplying WHP with $200 million in equity funding, according to a news release.

New York-based WHP, which has about a dozen employees, will seek to acquire additional brands to license into categories such as fashion, home décor, accessories, housewares and beauty, Shmidman told Women’s Wear Daily (WWD).

WHP enters a crowded brand management market that includes companies such as Iconix Brand Group, Cherokee Global Brands, Xcel Brands, Authentic Brands Group and Marquee Brands.

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