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Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Jun 3, 2019
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CWF welcomes new investors with leveraged buyout

Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Jun 3, 2019

CFW is changing hands through a reorganisation of its share holdings by bringing in new investment funds. The Vendée-based children’s fashion group announced that the French businesses Arkéa Capital, which is now positioned as its majority shareholder, and Raise took part in a roundtable on bringing about the business’ new development projects, especially for export. A leveraged buyout transaction for the business whereby the buyout was secured by use of a loan was signed on May 28. The debt will be financed by the historic banking pool led by Hélia Conseil, a subsidiary of Caisses d’Epargne Bretagne Pays de Loire et Aquitaine Poitou-Charentes. Dzeta, which was a CWF shareholder since 2014, will now have a minority stake in the business as will the management team which includes its president, Freddy Mallet.

CWF holds around 12 children’s wear brand licences and also runs its own labels - CWF

The deal has led to a restructuring and Freddy Mallet has assumed the position of head of CWF Développement which was recently created to facilitate the LBO. Pascal Leblanc, Mallet’s former director general, has been appointed as president of CWF SAS, the company managing the activities of the group. Pascale Dechâtre and Kevin Thompson, who were already positioned at the heart of the group, have been promoted to the positions of director of strategy and development and international sales director respectively.

“The company intends to continue to develop the group with the launch of new shoes and accessories collections, strengthening its digital channel, accelerating its expansion into Asia, North America, and the Middle East, signing new licences, and acquiring new brands,” said the business in a statement. 

CWF has benefited from this change in shareholders and has shared several strategic acquisitions which should contribute to the growth of the group. Firstly, the business has acquired the brand name Charabia, a line of luxury children’s dresses founded 20 years ago by Eric and Lena Barenton. The business has also acquired the licence from the house of Lanvin for its children’s ready to wear, starting from autumn/ winter 2020. Finally, the Herbiers-based business will follow a brick-and-mortar retail expansion strategy and will open stores for brands it holds the licence for. CWF recently opened its first two stores in China for Givenchy Kids and opened its first Boss Kidswear store in Saudi Arabia at the end of May.

CWF was founded in 1965 and employs over 800 people. The business reported a turnover of €160 million for 2018, with 80 percent of revenue generated through exports. The business distributes its products through 2,500 points-of-sale for wholesale and holds the licences for Givenchy and Lanvin as well as Chloé, Little Marc Jacobs, DKNY, Karl Lagerfeld, Zadig & Voltaire, Boss, and Timberland. In terms of its own brands, the business runs Charabia as well as Billieblush, Billybandit, and Carrément Beau. The business also runs the multi-brand children’s wear store Kids Around which has around 30 outlets across Europe. 

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