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Thursday, April 2, 2015

TowerBrook Buying Fashion Retailer J.Jill

TowerBrook Capital Partners L.P. (“TowerBrook”), the New York and London-based investment management firm, announced on March 31, 2015 that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase J.Jill, a leading multi-channel fashion retailer of women’s apparel, accessories and footwear.  TowerBrook will acquire J.Jill in its entirety from global investment firm Arcapita and private equity firm Golden Gate Capital.  Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The J.Jill brand and focused product is designed for women who lead rich, full lives and is recognized for comfort, aesthetic and quality.  With a strong and evolving data-driven omni-channel platform, J.Jill has an intense focus on establishing strong connections with new and existing customers through unique monthly collections and an expanding base of over 250 stores, a catalog and website. With a strong foundation and a loyal customer base attracted to the brand’s relaxed, inspired style, J.Jill is positioned to seek continued momentum and growth in a dynamic and rapidly changing retail landscape.

Paula Bennett will remain in her current role as President and Chief Executive Officer of J.Jill, working alongside TowerBrook to build on the company’s success.

TowerBrook has deep expertise and a strong network in the consumer and retail space, working with companies such as Jimmy Choo, True Religion, Kaporal and Phase Eight, and also brings experience with J.Jill’s particular customer base. TowerBrook will work closely with Paula and J.Jill’s talented team to build on its solid omni-channel foundation, pursue additional growth opportunities and further enhance performance, continuing its track record of developing brands and businesses to reach their full potential.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015.

Morgan Stanley and Houlihan Lokey acted as financial advisors to J.Jill. Macquarie Group acted as financial advisor and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal advisor to TowerBrook Capital Partners. Fully committed financing will be provided by Jefferies and Macquarie Group.

J.Jill is a leading multichannel fashion retailer of women's apparel, accessories and footwear.  They have a relaxed approach to style.  Never complicated, always easy.  The perfect balance of comfort and fashion, designed for real life.  Back in 1959, Karl and Marianne Lipsky open an Americana specialty store in the Berkshires and name it Jennifer House after their first daughter. Later they launch a catalog named for both of their girls, Jennifer and Jill.  J.Jill is bought by DM Management in 1987, which goes public in 1993.  In the fall of 1999, J.Jill becomes a multichannel retailer with the launch of its e-commerce website and the opening of its first retail stores in Natick, MA, and Providence, RI. Operations are integrated and by the end of 2003, J.Jill grows to 123 stores.  Is a multi-channel fashion retailer the same as an omni-channel fashion retailer?  In 2009, J.Jill is acquired by leading private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, and in 2011 partners with global investment firm Arcapita. J.Jill successfully transforms the brand, growing the multichannel business.  Apparently, this is all just the beginning of the story.  Let’s see where TowerBrook takes this clothing company.

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