Private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management has invested $200 million in a new venture called WHP Global that was created to acquire and manage multiple global consumer brands, leveraging a shared platform to unlock competitive advantages at scale and fuel growth for each distinctive brand in its portfolio.
WHP plans to deploy up to $1 billion in capital over the next five years.
Its first acquisition is Anne Klein, a global fashion brand founded in 1968, which has its own lines of jewelry and watches designed, manufactured and distributed under license by E.Gluck.
E. Gluck supplies watches to retailers including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Walmart, Dillards, JCPenney, Nordstrom, and Lord & Taylor.
“The seismic changes in the retail industry have created a unique opportunity for us to form a fresh platform,” said Yehuda Shmidman, WHP Chairman and CEO. “Together with the strength of Oaktree, we have the pipeline, team and capital to leverage this opportunity and scale.”
“With a strong track record of successfully identifying and growing global consumer brands, Yehuda and his team are the right partners to build WHP and develop a robust portfolio of consumer brands, optimized to operate in today’s retail landscape, as well as into the future,” said Thomas Casarella, Managing Director at Oaktree and member of the WHP Board of Directors.
“With its extensive heritage and strong sales base, Anne Klein is the perfect brand to kick off the WHP portfolio. We believe there is ample opportunity for even further growth and look forward to supporting this iconic brand’s next chapter,” added Ted Crockin, Vice President at Oaktree and member of the WHP Board of Directors.
As part of WHP, Anne Klein will focus on driving growth with key retailers in the US, including Macy’s, as well as identifying new categories and expanding globally. WHP plans to invest significantly in marketing, social media and digital commerce to drive increased brand engagement.