Robert Graham Completes Merger With Hudson Jeans

Lifestyle brand Robert Graham has completed its previously announced merger with denim label Hudson Jeans, creating a new publicly traded entity, Differential Brands Group Inc. The company will be listed on NASDAQ under the ticker DFBG and will be led by current Robert Graham CEO Michael Buckley.

Buckley, who has previous public-company experience at True Religion, will be joined on the Differential board by Chairman William Sweedler. Sweedler is a co-founder and managing partner at Westport, Conn.-based Tengram Capital Partners, which sponsored the merger transaction with a $50 million preferred security investment.

According to the company, Differential will focus on organically growing its owned labels through a global omnichannel-distribution strategy across wholesale, branded stores and e-commerce, and also will seek opportunities to acquire complementary brands.

The union between the two labels began in September, when Hudson Jeans’ former owner, Joe’s Jeans Inc., was acquired by Sequential Brands Group Inc. and Global Brands Group Holding Ltd. In the process, Joe’s shed the Hudson label, pairing it up with Robert Graham in a separate, $13 million transaction.

Launched in 2001 by designer Robert Stock, the Robert Graham label has expanded from guys’ ready-to-wear to include apparel and accessories for both men and women. In fall ’14, it debuted a line of men’s footwear with licensee LJP International, including classic silhouettes infused with its signature playfulness.

That expertise in category expansion could certainly benefit its new sister label, which stagnated under its former owner. Could we, for instance, see some Hudson Jeans shoes and boots in the future? Here’s hoping we do.

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