The Gores Group Set to Sell Big Strike Clothing Company

Four years after acquiring a majority share in the juniors lifestyle clothing company Big Strike Inc., The Gores Group has decided to sell the decades-old company to Arlington Global Financial Limited, an entity made of shareholders with decades of experience in the apparel industry who also hold an interest in One World Apparel LLC and Unger Fabrik.

Terms of the deal, done with the advisement of Intrepid Investment Bankers, were not revealed, but sources said The Gores Group is selling Big Strike for less than it purchased it.

The Gores Group, a Beverly Hills–based global investment firm headed by Alec Gores, acquired more than 70 percent of Big Strike in 2011 for around $100 million from the company’s co-founders—Lars Vikland, Kevin Talbot and Jodi Sundberg—sources said.

Immediately, Gores announced that Paula Schneider would take over as the chief executive officer to work alongside the principals. She left in 2013 and is now head of American Apparel. She was replaced by Kevin Mahoney, who had been the president of NYDJ Inc., formerly called Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.

Big Strike is a large juniors manufacturer in Gardena, Calif., launched in the early 1990s, with retail customers such as Kohl’s, Dillard’s and J.C. Penney. Its labels include Heart Soul, Soulmates, Workshop, Tracy Evans, Free to Love, Halo and Star City.

At the end of 2012, The Gores Group bought 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent and rolled it into Big Strike. But The Gores Group is in the process of quietly shuttering the Cynthia Vincent label, sources said.

The Gores Group first ventured into the clothing world with an apparel-related buying spree that started in 2010 with the acquisition of J. Mendel, a New York maker of fur coats and high-end dresses. Then in 2011 it acquired Big Strike and Mexx, a European and Canadian retailer once owned by Liz Claiborne Inc., now called Kate Spade. The spree concluded in 2012 with its purchase of Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent.