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Authentic Brands Group Partners with DSW Inc. to Acquire Camuto Group, Legendary Footwear and Accessories Organization

Partnership Bolsters ABG's Portfolio and Secures an Expert Footwear Operating Partner

NEW YORK, Oct. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Authentic Brands Group LLC (ABG), a global brand development, marketing and entertainment company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase a majority stake in the intellectual property of the Camuto Group's proprietary brands in partnership with DSW Inc. (DSW), a leading North American footwear and accessories retailer. This acquisition enhances ABG's portfolio by significantly growing the company's stake in the footwear and accessories market and increasing its brands' collective value to more than $8.3 billion in annual retail sales.

"We are thrilled to welcome the Camuto Group to the ABG family and forge a long-term relationship with DSW," said Jamie Salter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ABG. "This strategic arrangement preserves the Camuto Group operation, which will continue to service its current footwear partners, and provides a robust infrastructure for new brands and growth. In addition, our partnership with DSW links ABG to a footwear authority whose sourcing and manufacturing expertise will extend across our portfolio."

Founded in 2001, the Camuto Group is a legendary footwear and accessories organization best known for the eponymous Vince Camuto brand. Today Vince Camuto comprises key categories including  footwear, fragrance, apparel, handbags and accessories and can be found in over 8,000 retail locations including department stores and specialty accounts.

DSW Inc. is known for challenging convention and for its pioneering digital innovation, having twice been named "Best Omnichannel Retailer" by Total Retail. The leading footwear retailer now acquires the Camuto Group operation including its renowned design, sourcing, production and wholesale infrastructure. DSW Inc. will also acquire the licensing rights for Jessica Simpson® footwear, and Lucky Brand® and Max Studio® footwear and handbags. The company will also acquire joint venture participation in the ED Ellen DeGeneres® and Mercedes Castillo® brands.

With this move, ABG takes a page from its acquisition playbook for Aéropostale and Nautica, creating a similar structure that secures a dedicated operating partner in footwear. ABG's proven know-how in brand building, marketing and business development, combined with the retail, ecommerce and wholesale expertise of DSW Inc., provide a strong foundation for long-term growth.

"The purchase of the Camuto Group operation transforms DSW Inc. into one of the largest footwear franchises in North America. Our new design and sourcing capabilities create opportunities for us to pursue market share and become integral to more consumer purchase decisions," said Roger Rawlins, Chief Executive Officer of DSW. "In addition to the licensing benefits of our strategic partnership with ABG, this acquisition allows DSW Inc. to harness Camuto Group's product development and wholesale capabilities while supporting its growth as a global lifestyle brand."

"The partnership with DSW and ABG creates an unmatched opportunity for the Camuto Group to expand the platform for our leading lifestyle brands," said Alex Del Cielo, Chief Executive Officer of Camuto Group. "By leveraging DSW's resources, we will strengthen our wholesale business and bring to market an exciting and world-class, direct-to-consumer experience that will grow our brand equity and customer demand across additional points of sale. I believe our founder Vince Camuto would be as excited about the transaction as we are and view the opportunity as a way to extend the company's reach and realize his vision."

As part of the agreement, ABG will partner with DSW Inc. to acquire the intellectual property of Camuto Group's proprietary brands, taking the majority stake of 60% and DSW Inc. taking the balance of 40%. Brands include Vince Camuto®, Louise et Cie®, Sole Society®, Enzo Angiolini® and others. The partnership will focus on licensing the brands across existing lines in footwear, handbags and jewelry, and new category development with a focus on building out each brand's lifestyle offerings.

DSW Inc. has released a separate announcement, which can be viewed by visiting https://investors.dswshoe.com/.

Under a separately negotiated agreement, ABG will purchase the intellectual property of the Bernard Chaus Inc. (BCI) brands in partnership with Ariel Chaus, the current Chief Executive Officer and former owner of BCI. Brands include the fashion and contemporary women's apparel labels 1.STATE®, CeCe® and Chaus®. Ariel Chaus will also repurchase the BCI business from Camuto Group and become the core women's apparel licensing partner for Vince Camuto®. Together, ABG and BCI will galvanize the brands' growth strategies and launch an elevated women's sportswear platform that will service better department stores around the world. 

The transactions are subject to customary closing conditions and are expected to close within thirty days. 

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as exclusive financial advisor to DSW Inc. and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz LLP is serving as legal advisor to DSW. Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is serving as legal advisor to ABG. MMG Advisors Inc. is serving as financial advisor to Camuto Group. Pryor Cashman LLP is serving as legal advisor to Camuto Group.

About ABG
Authentic Brands Group (ABG) is a brand development, marketing, and entertainment company, which owns a portfolio of global entertainment and lifestyle brands. Headquartered in New York City, ABG manages, elevates, and builds the long-term value of more than 40* consumer brands by partnering with best-in-class manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. Our brands have a global retail footprint in more than 50,000 points of sale across the luxury, specialty, department store, mid-tier, mass, and e-commerce channels and more than 4,400 branded freestanding stores and shop-in-shops around the world. ABG is committed to transforming brands by delivering compelling product, content, business, and immersive brand experiences. We create and activate original marketing strategies to drive the success of our brands across all consumer touchpoints, platforms, and emerging media. ABG's global portfolio includes Marilyn Monroe®, Mini Marilyn®, Elvis Presley®, Muhammad Ali®, Shaquille O'Neal®, Dr. J®, Greg Norman®, Neil Lane®, Thalia®, Michael Jackson® (managed brand), Nautica®, Aéropostale®, Juicy Couture®, Vince Camuto®*, Herve Leger®, Judith Leiber®, Frederick's of Hollywood®, Nine West®, Frye®, Jones New York®, Louise et Cie®*, Sole Society®*, Enzo Angiolini®*, Hickey Freeman®, Hart Schaffner Marx®, Adrienne Vittadini®, Taryn Rose®, Bandolino®, Misook®, 1.STATE®*, CeCe®*, Chaus®*, Spyder®, Tretorn®, Tapout®, Prince®, Airwalk®, Vision Street Wear®, Above The Rim®, and Hind®. ABG-NYC.com. *Pending closing in Q4 of 2018.

About DSW Inc.
DSW Inc. is a leading footwear and accessories retailer that operates a portfolio of several value retail concepts under the DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, Shoe Company, Shoe Warehouse and Town Shoes brands. DSW also supplies footwear at leased locations in the U.S. through its Affiliated Business Group and franchised international locations. Products are available across North America at nearly 1,000 retail outlets and via e-commerce sites and a mobile app. More information can be found at www.dswinc.com.

About Camuto Group
Camuto Group is an international company that designs, develops and distributes fashion footwear, accessories and apparel. Founded in 2001 by Vince Camuto, the company is renowned for its ability to develop lifestyle brands on a global scale. Camuto Group builds on the success of Vince Camuto®, extending to brands that include Louise et Cie®, Two By Vince Camuto®, Vince Camuto® men's, Imagine Vince Camuto® and 1. STATE®. Camuto Group also holds footwear licenses for Jessica Simpson®, as well as footwear and handbag licenses for Lucky Brand® and ED Ellen DeGeneres®. To expand Camuto Group's platform and develop apparel opportunities for partners, the company acquired Bernard Chaus Inc. in 2015. As part of the company's focus on digital innovation and demand prediction, Camuto Group added Sole Society® to its stable of brands in 2016. In addition, Camuto Group entered into a partnership with Mercedes Castillo® to launch an advanced contemporary lifestyle collection. Camuto Group products including footwear, handbags and jewelry are sold in more than 5,400 doors worldwide.

Haley Steinberg


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