Gordon Brothers has acquired women’s lifestyle label Orsay.
As part of the transaction, the restructuring and investment company has also acquired the trademark archives, associated trademarks and other intellectual property from Orsay GmbH. In doing so, Gordon Brothers aims to uphold the Orsay ethos while introducing new clothing, footwear and accessories.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A request for comment on the value of the deal, as well as Orsay’s year-high sales, hiring plans and growth strategies outside of e-commerce was not immediately confirmed Wednesday morning.
In April, Boston-based Gordon Brothers received $300 million in funding from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, taking the consulting, restructuring and investment firm’s capital base to over $1 billion.
In order to expand the business internationally and maintain Orsay’s existing franchises, a partnership has been formed with commercial technology company Scayle. Scayle provides e-commerce software to the brand so it can continue to ship to customers in Europe. As part of the new structure, Orsay also plans to leverage Scayle, the B2B entity and infrastructure behind About You, with its B2B and distribution services.
On Instagram, Orsay trumpets his “young, fashionable and affordable outfits to express your femininity”. But the company has struggled over the past year. In March, Willstatt, Germany-based fashion retailer Orsay announced plans to terminate contracts for its 200 German stores. In June, a company spokesman announced that all branches would be closed and around 1,200 employees would be laid off. The serious dent of the pandemic on business and the effects of the war in Ukraine had reportedly further depressed German consumers’ propensity to buy, said the Orsay spokesman at the time.
Last autumn, Orsay GmbH applied for protective shield proceedings due to impending insolvency in the first quarter of 2022. This turned into self-administered insolvency proceedings at the end of January. At that time, the holding company of the French entrepreneurial family Mulliez handed over Orsay to the rehabilitation specialists Gordon Brothers to try to save the German outposts.
Interestingly, Orsay was one of the first European companies to go online in Germany by launching a website in November 1998. An English version followed in the summer of 1999 and Orsay began shipping online orders to all European Union countries. In a 2000 interview with WWD, an Orsay executive said the brand’s e-commerce had quintupled in 1999 and was comparable to that of the smallest Orsay store at the time.
In a statement released Wednesday, Gordon Brothers President of Brands Tobias Nanda said the company has been following Orsay’s story for years and has been impressed by its “strong connection” with consumers.
Tarek Muller, co-founder and co-CEO of About You and Scayle, praised Gordon Brothers for “his enthusiasm for Orsay, his flexibility and his willingness to ensure its continued presence in the European market”.
Gordon Brothers dates back to 1903 and has been investing in brands since 2003. The company has helped revitalize some well-known and nostalgic labels such as Laura Ashley. Gordon Brothers also owns New York-based Nicole Miller. The company conducts more than $100 billion in dispositions and valuations annually and provides short and long-term capital to clients. Lending on and investing in brands, real estate, inventory, equipment and other assets together and individually to provide liquidity solutions to clients has been known.
Through its acquisitions, Gordon Brothers’ approach often includes expanding licensees and franchisees to strengthen e-commerce and establish more strategic wholesale and retail relationships.