Jerry Leigh Acquires Fortune Fashions

Jerry Leigh of California announced itacquired Fortune Fashions Industries— the Vernon, Calif.–based maker and distributor of branded, licensed and private label T-shirts—for an undisclosed sum.

Jerry Leigh—an apparel design, manufacturing and brand-management firm in Van Nuys, Calif.—said Fortune Fashions will continue to service its existing clientele— which includes Wal-mart, Kohl’s, JCPenney and Target—and will function as a division of Jerry Leigh.

The acquisition includes Fortune Fashions’ printing plant in Ensenada, Mexico, which employs approximately 600 people. It is unclear if the acquisition includes Fortune Fashions’ satellite offices in Orlando, Fla., and Mexico City.

“Jerry Leigh and Fortune Fashions service complementary, as opposed to competitive, tiers of distribution in the licensing, sales, merchandising and design fields, positioning these two companies as an incredibly synergistic pairing,” said Andrew Leigh, president of Jerry Leigh. The deal, he said, took just over one month to complete. An unnamed source said financial struggles led to Fortune Fashions’ sale.

Fortune Fashions, founded in 1991 by Fred Kayne, owed U.S. Bank $20 million, secured by the apparel company’s assets, the source said. The amount Jerry Leigh paid for the company, however, didn’t cover the entire amount owed to the bank. “The bank took a haircut,” said the unnamed source, who added that in recent years, Fortune Fashions’ annual revenues had been around $100 million to $150 million.

“As a division of Jerry Leigh, Fortune Fashions will be able to offer an enhanced global sourcing wing, as Jerry Leigh has a sizeable manufacturing and sourcing presence in Asia and Central America,” Leigh said.

Fortune Fashions started out servicing primarily accounts with large theme parks, such as Disney World and Universal Studios; restaurants; and hotels. Later, it branched out to provide private-label apparel to mid-tier retailers. For years, it was the one of the country’s leading manufacturers of custom-embellished sportswear for the entertainment industry and retail stores.

A few years ago, it expanded from a 50,000-square-foot facility to a 430,000-square-foot facility in Vernon to accommodate expanding business. —Erin Barajas