US merger gives Bendon the chance to boost global growth

Lingerie and swimwear manufacturer Bendon has announced its intent to merge with Naked Brand Group, a US-based underwear business listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Bendon, a 70 year-old group of brands based in New Zealand, has entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) and hopes the merger will grant it immediate access to US capital markets, allowing further global growth.

The LOI indicates that the Naked Brand Group would issue Bendon shareholders, including majority-owner Eric Watson’s Cullen Investments, an aggregate of 118.8 million shares, representing 93.6% of the combined company.

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The merger is also expected to boost Bendon’s global wholesale and retail distribution channels and allow it to capitalise on the expertise of Naked’s CEO, Carole Hochman, to strengthen its portfolio.

Bendon’s group of brands include Heidi Klum Intimates and Swimwear, Stella McCartney Lingerie and Swimwear, Bendon, Bendon Man, Davenport, Evollove, Fayreform, Hickory, Lovable and Pleasure State.

For the fiscal year ended 2016, Bendon generated approximately £82 million in net sales.

Justin Davis-Rice, executive chairman of Bendon said the “transformative” merger will create a powerful creative, marketing, operational and capital markets platform.

“As a publicly traded company in the US, we expect to have an opportunity to accelerate our growth and strengthen our position as a global leader in intimate apparel, swimwear, innerwear fashion and lifestyle brands through both organic growth and strategic acquisitions,” he added.

“We are also delighted to partner with industry pioneer, Carole Hochman, who brings unrivalled experience to our company and whose expertise is expected to not only strengthen our existing brands but to provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to develop our sleepwear business, a product category that represents a significant growth opportunity.”

Carole Hochman, who will become chief creative officer of the merged company, is considered one of the most influential women in the intimate apparel and sleepwear business in the US, with experience that extends more than 30 years.

She said: “We are extremely excited about the potential of this proposed merger, and look forward to capitalizing on Bendon’s scale and expertise to further expand the Naked brands. The Bendon team has built a phenomenal business, and by leveraging their infrastructure, product and geographic knowledge, and talent, we believe that we can accelerate our growth in the innerwear fashion and lifestyle market.”




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