Differential Brands Group Now Has a New Name

Differential Brands Group, the Los Angeles apparel company whose labels include Hudson, Robert Graham and SWIMS, is changing its name to Centric Brands Inc. after acquiring a significant part of Global Brands Group’s licensing business in North America.

Jason Rabin, the former president of Global Brands Group North America, will become Centric Brands’ chief executive officer, and William Sweedler, managing partner with Tengram Capital Partners, which played a role in the transaction, will continue to be the chairman of the board of directors.

The $1.2 billion purchase price for the licensing business was paid in cash, according to Centric Brands, which will continue as a publicly traded company and be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol CTRC.

The new company will be headquartered in New York with offices in Los Angeles, Montreal and Greensboro, N.C.

The brands that make up Global Brands’ North American licenses include Calvin Klein, Under Armour, Tommy Hilfiger, BCBG, Joe’s Jeans, Buffalo David Bitton, Frye, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, All Saints, Cole Haan, Kenneth Cole and entertainment properties including Disney, Marvel and Nickelodeon.

Global Brands Group Holding is a Hong Kong–listed company that joined sourcing giant Li & Fung in 2009.

With the new acquisition, Centric Brands is expected to generate more than $2.3 billion in annual revenue, the company said, with branded product distribution to a diversified group of consumers across retail and digital channels.

“With the unmatched sourcing network of Li & Fung, industry expertise and a large-scale platform, we have the ability to expand organically through brand, category and channel growth as well as the potential to add brands to our portfolio through new licenses and acquisitions across strategic verticals,” Rabin said in a statement.

Debt financing for the deal was provided by affiliates and/or funds managed by Ares Capital Management, HPS Investment Partners, GSO Capital Partners and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities.

Before becoming Differential Brands, the company operated under the name of Joe’s Jeans, which hit a financial hurdle in 2013 when it borrowed $90 million to buy Hudson for $97.6 million and then defaulted on its loans.

The company was close to declaring bankruptcy in 2015 but ended up selling its flagship brand, Joe’s Jeans, to the Sequential Brands Group and Global Brands Group Holding for $80 million. Funds from the sale were used to retire Joe’s Jeans’ debt.