Sequential to Explore Strategic Alternatives, Undergo Leadership Change

Sequential Brands Group Inc. is shaking things up.

The New York-based firm, which parents Jessica Simpson Collection, Heelys and DVS among other fashion labels, today announced the exploration of strategic alternatives, as well as a shift in leadership.

As part of the review, the company said it could consider the divestiture of one or more existing brands, the acquisition of one or more new brands, a stock buyback program and other initiatives. Its board of directors is working with Stifel to serve as its exclusive financial advisor in the endeavor.

“After having received unsolicited interest for several of our brands from multiple parties, Sequential’s board of directors is engaging in this formal process to ensure that we are evaluating all alternatives to best further the interest of our shareholders,” said William Sweedler, chairman of Sequential, in a release.

Sequential’s CEO Karen Murray, who also served as a director on the company’s board, has also left her post; but she will continue to serve as a senior advisor to the firm. Chad Wagenheim, EVP of strategic development and operations, has been promoted to president and will aid in the transitional period as the firm seeks a new CEO.

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“Chad has been and continues to be an integral part of our executive team. With his demonstrated operating expertise, strategic leadership and focus on results, we’re confident in his ability to help lead Sequential through this next phase,” said Sweedler.

Murray had been CEO since 2017. Prior to leading Sequential, she served as president at VF Sportswear and led the company’s Nautica brand. Murray’s predecessor, Yehuda Shmidman served as Sequential’s chief executive for four years before he exited the post.

For the second quarter, posted in August, Sequential reported an earnings loss following the sales of its Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse brands. The brand management firm logged revenues of $26.4 million, down from $33.1 million over the same period in the previous year. Its net losses totaled $2.6 million, or a 4-cent loss per share on an adjusted basis, versus 2018’s earnings of $4.5 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, in line with Wall Street’s forecast of 7 cents earnings per share.

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