JH Partners, Highland Consumer Buy J.McLaughlin

A group led by JH Partners and the Highland Consumer Fund is acquiring a majority interest in J.McLaughlin, the company announced Tuesday. The Brooklyn-based clothing brand has 52 stores across the Eastern U.S. Terms of the deal were not released.

PRESS RELEASE
J.McLaughlin announced today that a private equity sponsor group led by JH Partners and the Highland Consumer Fund, is acquiring a majority interest in the company. The existing management team, which includes co-founders and brothers Jay McLaughlin and Kevin McLaughlin, as well as Steven Siegler, CEO, will continue in its current role and will retain a minority interest in the business moving forward.

Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, J.McLaughlin is an American brand that represents a sought-after preppy lifestyle. J.McLaughlin sells only its own designs and has a unique aesthetic which combines traditional styling and impeccable craftsmanship with flair and an element of surprise. The company currently has 52 stores in 18 states across the Eastern half of the United States.

“We are delighted to make this investment in J.McLaughlin. Its unique approach to retailing, differentiated merchandise offering, neighborhood stores and high-touch customer service appeal to consumers in a way we have not seen before,” said Jeff Hansen, a Partner at JH Partners who will join J.McLaughlin’s Board of Directors.

“Led by an exceptional management team, the company has a record of rapid growth and we see significant opportunity for continued expansion,” added Tom Stemberg, a Managing General Partner of the Highland Consumer Fund and founder and former CEO of Staples.

“J.McLaughlin’s niche is American prep, rooted in a strong understanding of the history of American sportswear,” said Kevin McLaughlin. “We are committed to maintaining the brand’s connection to its customers and to providing the compelling merchandise and one-of-a-kind in-store experiences J.McLaughlin is best known for,” said Jay McLaughlin.

“Our new partners have a proven track record building brands and will be instrumental as we continue to expand our retail footprint and E-commerce presence,” added Steven Siegler. “JH Partners appreciates our heritage and shares our vision to expand our brand to consumers across the United States and internationally,” added Kevin McLaughlin.

JH Partners and the Highland Consumer Fund are reputed for their successful investments in growth companies and for helping management teams build iconic brands. JH Partners’ historic investments in international brands include Bare Escentuals, Frette, La Perla and Jurlique. The Highland Consumer Fund team has investments in such companies as City Sports, Lululemon and Pinkberry.

Peter J. Solomon Company, L. P. acted as exclusive financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal counsel to J.McLaughlin. Frederikson & Byron provided legal counsel to JH Partners, Highland Consumer Fund and Palladin Capital.

ABOUT J.McLAUGHLIN
Founded in 1977 by brothers Kevin and Jay McLaughlin with one shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the brand has grown to 52 freestanding stores across the Eastern half of the U.S. From the moment the doors opened J.McLaughlin established itself as a classic American brand featuring a flair for bold colors and signature prints. The brand’s unique aesthetic combines traditional styling and impeccable craftsmanship with an element of whimsy for both women and men. The current store base includes locations on Worth Avenue, Palm Beach; Madison Avenue, New York City; Lexington Avenue, New York City; East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich; M Street, Georgetown; and Charles Street, Boston; with new locations in Lake Forest, Illinois; Birmingham, Michigan; Kiawah, South Carolina; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; among others. ( www.jmclaughlin.com )

ABOUT JH PARTNERS
JH Partners, LLC is a San Francisco-based private equity firm focused on building sustainable, long-term equity value in consumer and marketing-driven growth companies.

JH Partners differentiates itself from traditional private equity groups by the considerable operating experience of its principals, which includes more than 35 years of combined tenure in senior operating roles. JH Partners invests in growth-oriented businesses with sustainable competitive advantages. JH Partners’ principals consistently commit significant amounts of personal capital to JH Partners’ investments and view themselves as co-investors, not money managers. For more information, visit JH Partners’ web site at www.jhpartners.com .

ABOUT HIGHLAND CONSUMER FUND
The Highland Consumer Fund specializes in consumer products, services and retail investment opportunities in growth-focused companies with proven business models operating in attractive markets. The Fund brings together an investment team with extensive experience founding, growing, operating and investing in successful consumer companies. It also offers companies a unique value proposition through the hands-on guidance and active involvement of its consumer domain experts. The Highland Consumer Fund has invested in and worked to create such firms as Castor & Pollux, Natural Pet Works, City Sports, Guitar Center, Life Gear, mix1, O Beverages, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, Pinkberry and Strivectin.