C&C California Sold to Los Angeles Licensing Company

Seven years ago, Perry Ellis International bought a hot property called C&C California, which started out as a Los Angeles T-shirt label for women and then expanded into other categories.

Perry Ellis recently announced it sold C&C California’s intellectual-property rights and trademark to Los Angeles licensing company ACH C&C Inc., a newly created venture by members of ACI Licensing, a Los Angeles licensing agency for personality chefs, TV programs and brands. This is the company’s first foray into buying an apparel trademark.

Perry Ellis—the Miami-based company that owns a stable of labels such as Original Penguin by Munsingwear, Jantzen, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Cubavera and Rafaella—said the deal closed on March 20.

Perry Ellis is filling deliveries through June 30. Terms of the agreement were not released.

“The sale of the iconic C&C California brand marks another step in our effort to ensure that assets within the Perry Ellis International portfolio are core to our strategy and are able to generate enhanced shareholder value,” said Oscar Feldenkreis, Perry Ellis’ president and chief operating officer. “This decision to sell C&C reflects the company’s focus and commitment to drive the proficiency of our core business and advances our strategy of focusing on larger, higher-margin brands and businesses that accelerate our growth and drive profitability.”

Andrew Cohan, a managing partner with ACH C&C, noted that C&C California was founded with the vision of creating the ultimate favorite T-shirt. He said the company will retain those vintage-inspired, soft buttery fabrics that emphasize comfort and subtle detailing.

“We feel the brand has a tremendous upside,” Cohan said in a telephone interview. “We thought if we could show it a little more love, focus on it and instill that California heritage behind it, there would be a lot of potential to it.”

ACH C&C has hired an undisclosed Los Angeles manufacturer that sources around the world to design and manufacture the label. The initial season for Spring 2016 will concentrate on women’s contemporary styles.

Soon after launching the women’s collection, the company will branch out to girls’ apparel. “We are also looking into other categories such as shoes, intimates and sleepwear to round out the brand to an overall lifestyle brand,” Cohan said, adding that the athleisure category is a natural extension.

The new owners plan to try to keep C&C California in stores that traditionally sold the label, such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and higher-end specialty boutiques.

C&C California is a company that has changed hands a few times ever since it was founded in 2002 by actress Claire Stansfield and retailer Cheyann Benedict. The two, who had little apparel experience, came across a magic formula that mixed soft cotton fabrics with vivid colors that soon became a hit after the T-shirts were mentioned by Oprah Winfrey on her TV show as part of her favorite-things selection.

In 2005, the company was sold for $28 million plus additional payments based on net sales to Liz Claiborne Inc., which turned around and sold it three years later to Perry Ellis when Liz Claiborne was shedding many of the labels it had acquired over the years.