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Snow Phipps Takes Stake in Velvet

Culver City, Calif.-based clothing company Velvet has inked an undisclosed amount of financing from New York-based private equity firm Snow Phipps Group. Terms of the deal were not released, though Snow Phipps will take a “significant interest” in the company, according to a written statement. The Sage Group advised Velvet on the deal. Snow Phipps was advised by William Susman in conjunction with Financo, Inc.

PRESS RELEASE
Velvet, the contemporary clothing collection, announced today that it has received a growth investment from Snow Phipps Group (“Snow Phipps”), a leading private equity firm. As part of the investment, Snow Phipps has acquired a significant interest in the company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Velvet’s Chief Executive Officer, Henry Hirschowitz, and the entire senior management team, including designers Jenny Graham and Toni Spencer, will remain with Velvet. In addition, Andrew Megibow, a Snow Phipps Operating Partner, will join the team and become non-executive Chairman. Mr. Megibow is formerly of Ellen Tracy where he was instrumental in transforming the company from a small wholesaler into a fashion icon.

Velvet is a contemporary collection that offers a fresh approach for women that demand more than just novelty from fashion. Velvet’s designers, Jenny Graham and Toni Spencer, fuse quality with trend-setting basics, and the result is a collection of soft and sensuous pieces that flatter without sacrificing feminine fit and beauty.

“The investment from Snow Phipps is a true testament to our accomplishments over the years and to our future strategy,” said Henry Hirschowitz, Chief Executive Officer at Velvet. “Beginning with our luxurious modern t-shirts, we have naturally expanded into dresses, menswear with Velvetmen and more. As we look ahead, we are pleased to have the Snow Phipps team on board during this exciting time.”

“This transaction represents our firm’s first foray into the apparel industry despite having spent a number of years searching for an ideal investment candidate,” said Ian Snow, Managing Partner at Snow Phipps. “The Snow Phipps team is pleased to be partnering with the great team at Velvet.”

“Henry and his entire management team at Velvet, working alongside their incredibly talented designers, have done a remarkable job of creating a truly unique product, expanding upon it with the luxury Graham and Spencer collection, and partnering with high-end retailers to reach sophisticated consumers around the world,” said Andrew Megibow. “Velvet offers a comfortable, wearable elegance that modern women and men demand, and they have a plan in place that will drive the company forward for many years to come. We are excited to partner with them as they continue to grow,” said Alan Mantel, Investment Partner at Snow Phipps.

The Sage Group acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Velvet. Snow Phipps was advised by William Susman in conjunction with Financo, Inc.

About Velvet by Graham and Spencer
Velvet by Graham and Spencer is known for its luxurious, feminine and modern t-shirts, bringing a contemporary design attitude to the simple tee with its launch in 1997. Earning the loyalty of stylists and trendsetters, the brand has since expanded into dresses, tunics, skirts and men’s fashions becoming distinguished for its innovative draping, sophisticated color palettes and new treatments each season. Available across the U.S. and worldwide, Velvet is found in high-end specialty stores as well as major department stores. In the fall of 2006, Velvet designers Jenny Graham and Toni Spencer expanded their palate by launching a new luxury collection called “Graham and Spencer,” created for the contemporary market with a focus on shapes and the contrast of texture. For more information, please visit www.velvet-tees.com.

About Snow Phipps
Snow Phipps is a New York-based private equity firm that acquires businesses in attractive industries where it can leverage the expertise of its seasoned Operating Partners.