Allen Edmonds sells to private equity, not Men’s Wearhouse

Nov 05, 2013

FORTUNE -- As Men's Wearhouse (mw) continued to fend off unwanted advances from Jos. A. Bank (josb), various reports emerged late last month that Men's Wearhouse was interested in an acquisition of its own: Shoemaker Allen Edmonds, which was being shopped by private equity owner Goldner Hawn Johnson & Co.

It's unclear in Men's Wearhouse put in an actual bid, but it was officially out of the running just days after the original reports broke.

Allen Edmonds president and CEO Paul Grangaard tells Fortune that his company entered into exclusive negotiations with private equity firm Brentwood Associates on October 28. The final agreement was announced late last night, without disclosing dollar figures.

Grangaard adds that he views Allen Edmonds as an eventual IPO candidate, but that the company is currently too small. "I used to be an investment banker," he says. "And there is nothing worse to be than an orphaned public company."

What that means is that the Wisconsin company needs to expand its physical store footprint, while simultaneously reducing upfront investment per store (via tech advancements, etc.). Allen Edmonds also wants to continue growing its ecommerce presence and focus on its wholesale accounts with retailers like Nordstrom (jwn) and Brooks Brothers.

"We find that many of our customers begin in wholesale accounts, because that's where people can compare us best," Grangaard explains.

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