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TA Associates Announces 60% Investment in Fashion Brands: JOIE, Equipment and Current/Elliott

BOSTON, MA - January 10, 2013 – TA Associates, a leading global growth private equity firm, announced today it has completed a majority investment in Dutch, LLC, the parent company for leading fashion brands JOIE, Equipment and Current/Elliott. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Since January 2007, Serge Azria, a visionary in the segment of new contemporary luxury, has created a portfolio of brands that have, in a short time, rapidly established a leadership position in the contemporary market, delivering significant growth and consistent profitability. The company has experienced in excess of 30% revenue and profit growth each year over the last five years.  The Dutch brands are sold in more than 2,000 stores in 75 countries, including high-end department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Printemps, as well as specialty boutiques in the U.S. and international markets.  JOIE and Equipment also both offer direct sales through the company’s recently launched e-commerce sites and through six retail boutiques in Los Angeles, New York and Newport Beach.  Dutch operates primarily out of offices in Vernon, California and New York, NY.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Serge Azria, a leader in the contemporary fashion space who has created brands that have achieved a loyal following in their individual segments,” said James R. Hart, a Principal at TA Associates who will join the company’s Board of Directors. “Under Serge’s leadership, Dutch has developed partnerships with the most prestigious department stores and specialty shops worldwide and we look forward to maintaining and helping grow these relationships further.  With the recent addition of e-commerce and company-owned retail boutiques, we believe that the Dutch brands are well positioned to become leading lifestyle brands in the contemporary segment. In this partnership, we are looking to support the growth of the Dutch brand portfolio and work with the longtime management team and retail and distribution partners to continue increasing the brands’ footprints, collections and overall profile in the marketplace.”

“We are very happy to be working with TA Associates,” said Serge Azria, CEO and Creative Director, Dutch, LLC who will remain CEO of Dutch following TA’s investment.  “Out of the numerous offers we received, we chose TA because of their reputation, credibility and strength. They are a firm with a long and successful track record in the consumer industry. Our team has delivered tremendous and consistent growth throughout the recent consumer recession by delivering great design to the premium customer as a new luxury.  We are confident that, with TA’s support, we’ll be able to complete the evolution of our portfolio into true lifestyle brands for savvy, fashion-minded consumers throughout the world.”

“The new contemporary luxury segment has become an incredibly important revenue driver for both premium apparel companies and for retailers focused on this space,” said Jennifer M. Mulloy, a Managing Director at TA Associates who will also join the company’s Board of Directors. “We believe the contemporary niche represents an attractive opportunity for investment in the current economic environment, providing a great balance of design, quality and price, and that Dutch is well positioned to continue benefiting from these trends in the coming years.”

Goodwin Procter LLP provided legal counsel and Peter J. Solomon Company provided advisory services to TA Associates.  Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher &Flom LLP served as legal counsel and Sage Group LLC provided advisory services to Dutch, LLC.

About Dutch, LLC

Based in Vernon, CA, Dutch, LLC is a leading designer and distributor of premium contemporary apparel under the labels JOIE, Equipment and Current/Elliott.  The company’s products are available in premium department stores and specialty shops in more than 2,000 locations across 75 countries, as well as in six company-owned boutiques and the company’s own website. 

About TA Associates

Founded in 1968, TA Associates is one of the largest and most experienced middle-market growth private equity firms. The firm has invested in over 425 companies globally and has raised $18 billion in capital. With offices in Boston, Menlo Park, London, Mumbai and Hong Kong, TA Associates leads buyouts and minority recapitalizations of profitable growth companies in the healthcare, technology, financial services, business services and consumer industries. More information about TA Associates can be found at www.ta.com.

About JOIE

JOIE is a contemporary brand catering to the savvy, fashion-minded, modern woman. Understatedly chic, JOIE’s designs are constantly inspired by the Southern California lifestyle and its casual, yet sophisticated way of life. In the past five years, Serge Azria has expanded JOIE into a lifestyle brand, introducing shoes, handbags and a collection in casual fabrics, including t-shirts, dresses and sweaters, called Soft JOIE.  The label’s retail expansion has been rapid and strategic, with three stores in New York, one in Fashion Island in Newport Beach, and one on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, as well as a robust e-commerce business that launched domestically and internationally in early 2012.  In February 2013, JOIE will present during New York’s fashion week for the first time. Additional information is available at www.joie.com.

About Equipment

Re-launched in spring 2010, the illustrious brand features modern, androgynous silhouettes, a discreet sexiness, luxe fabrics, unexpected details and feminine riffs on men’s shirting. The contemporary approach taken on the signature pieces pays homage to the legacy of the brand while maintaining the perfect balance of cool and understated elegance, making it highly desirable amongst fashion’s most notable tastemakers. Fall 2012 marked the launch of Equipment’s cashmere collection. A natural progression for the brand, the cashmere is the perfect counterpart to the Equipment shirt, a timeless classic and wardrobe staple. Additional information is available at www.equipmentfr.com.

About Current/Elliott

Launched in July 2008 by Serge Azria, Current/Elliott was an innovator in the denim market with the introduction of the first boyfriend jean, and has since continuously raised the bar for the denim standard. Born out of love for vintage denim and its Americana roots – from the washes to the range of fits and styles – the collection respects the history of denim and its timelessness. Each individual style pays homage to the importance that denim has played throughout American history – every style offered in the collection has a historical reference, an original vintage sample and year of origin. Loyal Current/Elliott fans include Sarah Jessica Parker, Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba, Kate Bosworth and Drew Barrymore. Additional information is available at www.currentelliott.com.

About The Sage Group LLC

The Sage Group, LLC (www.sagellc.com) is a national investment bank that provides merger and acquisition advisory services to branded companies.  Drawing on the deep expertise and experience of its professionals, Sage concentrates on the following sectors: apparel and accessories, specialty retail, luxury goods, footwear, personal care, action sports, tech-lifestyle, food and beverage, and other branded consumer segments.