The Fashion retailer, Express has announced Yehuda Shmidman will join the Company’s Board of Directors, as a Class II director. The news comes after the completion of the previously announced Express, Inc. and WHP Global will enter into mutually transformative strategic partnership.
Mr.Shmidman is the co-Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of WHP Global. He is a seasoned executive in the brand management industry, having successfully invested over $3 billion of capital to acquire, grow and monetize global consumer brands.
“I am pleased to welcome Yehuda to the Express, Inc. Board of Directors and expect that his extensive experience in brand management will be of great value to our Company,” said Mylle H. Mangum, Chairman of the Board.
Mr. Shmidman has two decades of experience across multiple consumer segments including fashion, hard goods, toys, home, wellness, media, celebrity, sports and electronics, with direct leadership over dozens of well-known brands including Toys“R”Us, Anne Klein, Martha Stewart and Peanuts. He is a board member and executive committee member of the Fashion Scholarship Fund, and a board observer of Toys“R”Us ANZ.
The mutually transformative strategic partnership advances the Company’s omnichannel platform which is expected to drive accelerated, long-term growth through the acquisition and operation of a portfolio of brands. EXPR and WHP have also formed an intellectual property joint venture (the “IP JV”) intended to scale the Express brand through new domestic category licensing and international expansion opportunities.
“As our team continues its strong focus on returning the core Express business to growth and profitability and advancing our EXPRESSway Forward strategy, our partnership with WHP Global will allow us to achieve greater scale through non-core domestic licensing opportunities and international expansion,” said Tim Baxter, Chief Executive Officer. “The $260 million in gross proceeds will be used to immediately pay down our high interest term loan, invest in our omnichannel platform, and pursue additional opportunities for growth through the acquisition of brands with WHP, all of which are expected to drive long term, sustainable value for our shareholders.”
This partnership is expected to provide the following significant financial and operational benefits:
- Capitalizes on strength of EXPR as a fully integrated omnichannel platform. EXPR will be ideally positioned to participate in anticipated retail industry consolidation and pursue acquisitions with WHP and is expected to expand its brand portfolio to accelerate growth and profitability. Through synergistic M&A, EXPR will leverage its platform to drive cost savings and margin expansion.
- WHP to acquire newly issued shares of EXPR at $4.60 per share. WHP will make a $25 million common equity PIPE investment to acquire 5.4 million newly issued shares of EXPR at $4.60 per share, representing an approximate pro forma ownership of 7.4%.
- Scales existing multi-billion-dollar Express brand through the IP JV. We expect this partnership to accelerate growth for the Express brand by leveraging WHP’s licensing expertise to both expand on our non-core domestic categories and our international reach. The IP JV is valued at approximately $400 million, with WHP committing $235 Million to the IP JV for 60% ownership and EXPR contributing certain intellectual property in exchange for 40% ownership.
- Strengthens EXPR balance sheet with $260 million in gross proceeds from WHP investment. This investment provides capital for EXPR to repay its $90 million term loan and fund EXPR’s first year guaranteed minimum royalties of $60 million to the IP JV. The balance of the proceeds will be used for reinvesting in the EXPR platform and potential future M&A opportunities.
The completion of the transaction was subject to lender consent, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, all of which were obtained or satisfied.