New Owners Take Over BCBGMaxAzria and Other Labels

Manufacturing

As of Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The brand is still around but the owners are new.

On Aug. 1, Marquee Brands announced it had acquired the entire portfolio of brands once owned by the BCBG Max Azria Group, the Los Angeles fashion house that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 28.

Marquee Brands, headquartered in New York, acquired for $108 million the intellectual property rights to BCBGMaxAzria, BCBGeneration and Hervé Leger.

Marquee Brands already owns the Bruno Magli, Ben Sherman and Body Glove labels that were recently snapped up.

“BCBGMaxAzria and BCBGeneration each speak to a very specific woman who has come to rely on these brands to help express her unique style and personality. Few women’s contemporary brands carry this much affinity among consumers and retailers alike,” said Cory Baker, chief operating officer of Marquee Brands.

Marquee will expand the BCBG stable of brands to additional lifestyle categories on a global basis through existing and newly signed strategic partners and product licensees. The New York company plans to keep offices in Los Angeles for its new acquisitions. Right now, it is operating in BCBG's previous headquarters in Vernon, Calif.

Marquee is also working with Global Brands Group, which paid $23 million to secure certain operating assets and inventory of BCBG and will serve as licensee to Marquee Brands to oversee the wholesale and retail platforms for the labels in North America. Global Brands intends to keep between 40 to 50 stores operating of the 71 BCBG locations that still exist. Earlier this year, the bankrupt BCBG closed 120 unprofitable outposts.

With other affiliates, the total purchase price paid by Marquee and Global Brands was $165 million.

Already a going-out-of-business sale—with 70 percent off —is taking place at the BCBG store in the popular Sunset Plaza area of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, days before the BCBG deal closed, the bankrupt company on July 28 filed a complaint in U.S. bankruptcy court against Nyam LLC, a licensee of handbags, luggage and woven shirts made under the BCBG Paris and BCBGeneration labels, alleging Nyam hadn’t paid $575,000 in royalty payments due the Los Angeles fashion company. The money is for a contract in effect between February 2016 and April 2017. It called for a minimum royalty fee of $1.5 million.

BCBG was founded in 1989 by Max Azria. It was a contemporary fashion brand that sold women’s clothing —first in department stores and later in its own retail chain that numbered as many as 550 locations around the world. BCBG also has in-store shops at department stores such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Lord & Taylor.

At one time, BCBG employed 1,300 full-time workers and 1,400 part-time employees at its headquarters, warehouse and stores. Most of those employees have been laid off.

For years, BCBG borrowed heavily to finance its operations and keep some of its unprofitable stores open. At one time, its debt totaled more than $685 million, much of that was held by Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates.

In 2015, there was a restructuring of the company’s debt with Guggenheim Partners and affiliates carrying more than $324.4 million in BCBG loans but owning 80 percent of the apparel company’s common equity while Max Azria and his family maintained a 20 percent interest.

Marquee Brands is a relatively new brand management company started a few years ago as a division of Neuberger Berman private equity. Its goal is to acquire brands with strong consumer awareness and grow them across several channels around the world.