TPG exits Bally after nine-year turnaround

The global buyout firm has exited the Swiss fashion retailer it took to double digit sales and profit growth during the last three years, after buying it when it was loss-making.

TPG Capital has exited Bally, the Swiss fashion company, to Joh A Benckiser, a family holding company, after nine years ownership for an undisclosed sum, according to a statement. An analyst estimated the sale price was around CHF600 million (€373 million; $596 million).

Bally: nine year
turnaround

Bally has sales of approximately CHF500 million, according to a source close to the bid. The company was loss-making when TPG bought it in 1999, the source said. Bally derives 50 percent of its sales from shoes, 40 percent from bags and accessories and the remainder from ready to wear fashion.

Bally has around 250 branded stores and 750 sale points worldwide. TPG appointed Marco Franchini as chief executive in 2002 to lead a major restructuring of the company. This involved changing distribution and production, a consolidation of the brand identity and refurbishment of the retail network. In 2007 TPG also appointed Brian Atwood as a creative director.

The source said a key element of the turnaround was a decision to bring the company’s manufacturing in-house again, allowing Bally to regain control of the brand.

Bastian Lueken, a principal with TPG Capital, said in a statement: “Bally has continued to achieve strong sales growth since its turnaround, reflected in both revenues and earnings. We have seen double-digit growth for the last three years.”

The transaction is expected to close this summer following regulatory approval.