Firm Buys Majority in Ross-Simons

Freeman Spogli & Co., a private investment firm that invests primarily in retail, Internet, and direct marketing companies, has obtained a majority interest in Ross-Simons of Cranston, R.I., a leading catalog and Internet retailer of fine jewelry, gifts, and collectibles. Darrell S. Ross remains as chairman and chief executive officer.

Company officials declined to give specifics, but Ross tells JCK that Freeman Spogli now has “more than 50%” of the company and that the recapitalization of the firm involves millions of dollars. However, Freeman Spogli won’t be involved in the daily operations or direction of the company.

Ross-Simons does $250 million in business annually through its worldwide catalog mailings (more than 65 million a year), e-commerce (at www.ross-simons.com), and 11 stores in eight states. That figure rises to $285 million when Geary’s of Beverly Hills, which Ross-Simons owns, is included. Geary’s sells luxury jewelry and giftware items.