Jewelry brand Judith Ripka has been acquired by Xcel Brands, a public company that also owns the Isaac Mizrahi brand and has an interest in Liz Claiborne New York.
The purchase price was $22.5 million, composed of $14 million in cash; 571,500 shares of stock; and $6 million in interest-free promissory notes, payable in cash or stock. Xcel will also provide up to $5 million, contingent on the company achieving certain net royalties.
An Xcel statement says the Ripka brand, founded in 1977, is distributed in more than 200 stores in the United States and generates approximately $140 million in retail sales.
Ripka will be the brand’s chief creative officer and continue to serve as its on-air spokeswoman on QVC. Among Xcel’s plans: to increase the Ripka line to handbags, footwear, and other accessories, says Xcel chairman and CEO Robert W. D’Loren.
Ripka “fits almost perfectly into our strategy,” D’Loren says. “We are a omni-channel brand. We sell in better department stores, on interactive TV. This fits well with us for QVC; this is our third brand for them.”
Ripka currently has six brick-and-mortar stores, and D’Loren says the company “will look at them.”
“Some are less interesting to us,” he says. “We might want to reconsider locations. Some of the stores will stay. We’ll want to keep our flagships.”
Rather than increase brick-and-mortar locations, D’Loren says Xcel is more likely to focus on building Ripka’s e-commerce presence.
Overall, he says, the company can expect that Ripka’s brand DNA—“designing for every woman”—will stay the same. But now “it has a company with much greater operating infrastructure to support it,” he says.
When asked if he was interested in any further jewelry acquisitions, he says, “probably not, but you never know.”
D’Loren adds it’s too early to make any announcements about the brand’s current management, other than Ripka, but says “there are some people who will stay.”