Kellwood Set to Buy CRL/Vince

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NEW YORK – Kellwood Company and CRL Group LLC said late Wednesday that Kellwood has agreed to acquire the assets of CRL, including the women’s contemporary brand Vince.

CRL is owned by John Paul Richard Inc., Rea Laccone and Christopher LaPolice. Upon consummation of the deal, Laccone would continue as chief executive of Vince and LaPolice as its president. The operation would become part of Kellwood’s Western Region division.

Financial terms of the transaction, expected to close by the end of October, weren’t disclosed.

Vince is sold by upscale and luxury specialty stores including Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. It expects sales in excess of $45 million during 2006, the parties said.

Robert Skinner, CEO of Kellwood, said that his firm and the principals of CRL “have the same philosophy on how to build the Vince business. We both feel there are excellent opportunities to increase our penetration in existing accounts as well as expand our international distribution.”

The acquisition of Vince supports Kellwood’s strategy to expand its marketing-focused portfolio with higher profile, upscale brand offerings, Kellwood said.

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