Purchase terms for EMS were not disclosed, but Versa Capital is a private equity firm based in Philadelphia that invests in distressed companies.
When contacted for details of the deal, Versa declined to comment, but CEO Gregory Segall said in a statement, “With a new capital structure and the other resources that Versa can offer, EMS will have many new opportunities to develop its branded products and better serve its customers. EMS brings a 45-year history of marketing products for serious outdoor enthusiasts. It is a natural fit for our existing expertise in both the retail and outdoor sectors.”
Will Manzer, EMS CEO, said, “Versa’s acquisition strengthens our future, and I am excited about the prospects before us. With Versa on board, all EMS associates can remain focused on delivering the very best level of support to our stores and to our customers during this holiday shopping season.”
Versa has $1.2 billion worth of assets under management, and its portfolio includes Bob’s Stores, a northeastern apparel retailer; Avenue Stores, a plus-size apparel chain; and the Black Angus Steakhouses in the western states.
Walsh noted that plans for EMS include “exploring opportunities for Bob’s Stores and EMS to collaborate,” but also “for maintaining all the current EMS stores.”
EMS was founded in Wellesley, Mass., in 1967 by two rock climbers and saw most of its growth happen in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, the Peterborough, N.H.-based retailer operates 69 doors, down from at least 85 in the mid-2000s.