Kelso Place Buys NICOLE FARHI

Kelso Place Asset Management, the UK-based special situations investor, has acquired a “significant stake” in British fashion brand NICOLE FARHI. OpenGate Capital acquired NICOLE FARHI in March 2010 from French Connection plc. Terms of the investment were not released.

PRESS RELEASE

OpenGate Capital, a global private investment firm, announced that Kelso Place Asset Management, the UK-based special situations investor, has acquired a significant stake in its iconic fashion label NICOLE FARHI.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kelso Place will use its strong track record in the luxury brand space with brands such as Smythson and Anya Hindmarch, to provide financial, strategic and hands-on, operational support to ensure the further growth of the business.

OpenGate has been making operational enhancements to NICOLE FARHI since acquiring the brand in March of 2010 from French Connection plc.

“With the luxury brand expertise of Kelso Place on board and our phase one operational refinements accomplished, NICOLE FARHI is now poised to grow and flourish,” said OpenGate Capital founder and CEO Andrew Nikou.

Nicole Farhi, who founded the label in 1983, and the global brand’s management team, led by Niki Scordi, will remain in their positions subsequent to the investment.

About OpenGate Capital

OpenGate Capital is a global private equity firm focused on acquiring controlling interests in businesses with solid fundamentals that exhibit opportunities for growth and operational improvements. Established in 2005, OpenGate Capital has a global footprint with headquarters in Los Angeles, California, and a principal office in Paris, France. OpenGate is served by a seasoned team of M&A and operating professionals who bring the skills needed to acquire, operate and build successful companies. The partners of OpenGate have executed more than 100 transactions worldwide ranging from corporate divestitures, turnaround acquisitions, industry consolidations and other special situations investments across a wide array of industries and geographic markets. For more information about OpenGate Capital, please visit www.opengatecapital.com .

About Nicole Farhi
Nicole Farhi is a British fashion lifestyle brand launched in 1982, with collections in womenswear, menswear, homeware and eyewear. The unique blend of soft tailoring with luxurious separates and accessories has made the Nicole Farhi name synonymous with quality. The collections are exhibited in London, New York, Paris and Milan. For more information: www.nicolefarhi.com

About Kelso Place Asset Management

Kelso Place Asset Management was founded in 2000 and is currently investing a GBP 100 million Special Situations Fund. The firm has raised four funds to date and has made a total of twelve investments, including in Anya Hindmarch and Smythson.

Smythson was acquired by Kelso Place Asset Management in 2005 and sold in December 2009. Under Kelso Place’s ownership, Smythson grew significantly, increasing turnover by 59%, expanding retail stores to 15, growing its e-commerce business by 106% and further strengthening its business infrastructure.