Sun Capital, The 180 Group, and Emerisque Capital Acquire Lee Cooper

May 04, 2005, 01:00 ET from Lee Cooper

    LONDON, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Sun Capital, The 180 Group, and Emerisque
 Capital today completed the acquisition of the Lee Cooper business (the
 "Company") from Matalan, PLC for a total purchase price of GBP30.5 million.
     Lee Cooper is a designer, distributor, and marketer of branded jeans,
 clothing, accessories, and footwear. Lee Cooper, one of the original jeans
 brands dating back to 1908, has a long history of providing innovation and
 denim excellence to its customers. The Company holds leading positions in its
 European markets and has distribution arrangements covering over 40 countries
     Mr. Ajay Khaitan, current Chief Executive of Emerisque, will become CEO
 of the Company and has recruited a number of leading industry apparel
 professionals to join the strong incumbent Lee Cooper team. Mr. Khaitan
 commented, "Lee Cooper is a global brand that has incredible authenticity and
 expertise in Denim. It is a leading denim brand in each of its markets. It
 also has a loyal consumer following, built up over many years by consistently
 delivering excellent quality products. The brand has been a strong and
 prevalent force in the marketplace for over 97 years, and my team looks
 forward to further evolving what Lee Cooper means to its current and new
 customers. We have significant plans for the Company, and we are eager to
 begin our path into the future."
     John King Chief executive of Matalan said, "We are delighted to have sold
 Lee Cooper to a strong management team whose skills, when added to those
 already present in the business, will allow the brand to grow and to develop.
 It is a very good brand and we are pleased to have secured an ongoing
 relationship with Lee Cooper which will ensure that our customers continue to
 have access to the brand for years to come."
     Sun Capital Partners, Inc. is a leading private investment firm focused
 on leveraged buyouts and investments in market leading companies that can
 benefit from its in-house operating professionals and experience. Sun Capital
 affiliates invest in companies typically with the number one or two market
 positions in their industry, long-term competitive advantages and significant
 barriers to entry. Sun Capital affiliates have invested in more than 80
 companies since their inception in 1995 with combined sales in excess of
 $20.0 billion. On a consolidated basis, Sun Capital's portfolio companies
 would rank in the top 100 of Fortune Magazine's listing of the 500 largest
 companies in the United States.
     The 180 Group, LLC ("180") is a premier private equity firm focused on
 value investment opportunities in the middle-market. The firm typically
 purchases control positions in businesses with strong franchises, which may
 be experiencing difficulties due to industry specific or general economic
 conditions, non-recurring events, illiquidity, or difficulties with debt or
 equity stakeholders. 180 invests in companies that have a clear plan to
 significantly increase profitability and growth. 180 often partners with
 incumbent or new management teams and has a demonstrated track record of
 closing complicated transactions and creating significant cash flow and
 revenue growth.
     Emerisque, is a unique investment vehicle for the acquisition of
 underperforming mid market traditional sector businesses in Europe.
     The new members of the management team include Ajay Khaitan from
 Emerisque, Mark Young, previously Financial Director at Kenwood and ex-Umbro,
 Andy Rigg, previously Marketing Director at Ben Sherman and Puma, Gilbert
 Ohayon, ex EMI & CBS Fox, and Phillip Worrall, previously Ben Sherman and
 Dunhill Sourcing Director.

SOURCE Lee Cooper