Gordon Brothers acquires Orsay – WWD

Gordon Brothers acquired women’s lifestyle brand Orsay.

As part of the deal, the restructuring and investment firm also acquired the trademark files, related trademarks and other intellectual property of Orsay GmbH. In doing so, Gordon Brothers aims to maintain the spirit of Orsay, while introducing new clothing, footwear and accessories.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

A request for comment on the value of the deal, as well as Orsay’s peak annual sales, hiring plans and growth strategies unrelated to e-commerce was not immediately acknowledged Wednesday morning.

In April, Boston-based Gordon Brothers received $300 million in funding from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, increasing the advisory, restructuring and investment firm’s capital base to more than $1 billion.

In an effort to build the business internationally and maintain Orsay’s existing franchises, a partnership was formed with trading technology company Scayle. Scayle is providing e-commerce software for the brand so it can continue to serve shoppers in Europe. Under the new setup, Orsay also plans to use Scayle, which is the B2B unit and infrastructure behind About You, with its B2B and distribution services.

On Instagram, Orsay trumpets its “young, stylish and affordable clothing to express your femininity”. But the company has struggled in the past year. In March, fashion retailer Orsay, based in Willstatt, Germany, announced plans to terminate contracts for its 200 German stores. In June, a company spokesperson announced that it was closing all branches and laid off approximately 1,200 workers. The severe impact of the pandemic on business and the impact of the war in Ukraine would have further depressed German consumers’ propensity to consume, Orsay’s spokesman said at the time.

Last fall, Orsay GmbH applied for a protective shield process 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 Mulliez business family passed Orsay to restructuring specialists Gordon Brothers to try to save the German outposts.

Interestingly, Orsay was one of the first European companies to go online in Germany, launching a website in November 1998. An English version was launched in the summer of 1999, and Orsay began shipping online orders to all EU countries. In a 2000 interview with WWD, an Orsay executive said that the brand’s e-commerce increased fivefold in 1999 and was then comparable to Orsay’s smallest store.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Gordon Brothers President of Brands Tobias Nanda said the company has followed Orsay’s story for years and was impressed by his “powerful connection” with consumers.

Tarek Muller, co-founder and co-CEO of About You and Scayle, praised Gordon Brothers for “his enthusiasm for Orsay, flexibility and readiness to ensure its continued presence in the European market”.

Since 1903, Gordon Brothers has invested in brands since 2003. The company has helped reinvigorate some well-known and nostalgic brands like Laura Ashley. Gordon Brothers also owns New York-based Nicole Miller. The company completes more than $100 billion in divestitures and appraisals annually and provides both short-term and long-term capital to clients. It is known for lending and investing in brands, real estate, inventory, equipment and other assets together and individually to provide liquidity solutions to clients.

Through its acquisitions, Gordon Brothers’ approach often involves expanding licensees and franchises to strengthen e-commerce and develop more strategic wholesale and retail ties.

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