Golden Gate takes private direct marketer

The San Francisco-based firm will acquire Blair Corporation for $173.6m and merge it with its portfolio company Appleseed’s Topco.

San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital has agreed to buy the shares of Warren, Pennsylvania-based Blair Corporation, an apparel and home products direct marketer, in a deal worth approximately $173.6 million (€133.2 million).

The firm will merge the company with its portfolio company Appleseed’s Topco, another apparel and home products marketer directed at men and women older than 50. Together, Golden Gate expects, the two companies will generate an annual revenue of approximately $1.1 billion.

Golden Gate will buy Blair’s shares for $42.50, which is 23.6 percent more than the company’s closing price over the last four weeks. Blair is publicly traded on the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) under the ticker symbol BL.

The deal is expected to close in the spring of 2007.

“We have targeted this segment of the women’s specialty market because it is one of the fastest growing demographic segments of the population—women over 50-years-old,” Stefan Kaluzny, a managing director at Golden Gate, said in a statement.

Blair has a catalog outlet in Wimington, Delaware and runs retail outlets in Northwestern Pennsylvania. It employs approximately 1,900 people worldwide. 

Golden Gate acquired Beverly, Massachusetts-based Appleseed’s in November of 2005 for an undisclosed amount. The company’s brands include Appleseeds, Draper’s & Damon’s, Haband, Norm Thompson, Sahalie, Solutions and the Tog Shop.

The firm has been active in the retail sector. Its portfolio companies include New York-based women’s apparel and accessories direct marketer Spiegel and Oakland, New Jersey-based direct mail and online marketer of apparel and home goods Haband Company.

Golden Gate partnered with Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Capital Partners in an agreement to buy Redmond, Washington-based apparel retailer Eddie Bauer in November. That $614 million deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.