Who is HLD, future owner of French label Ba&sh?
Investment firm HLD is about to buy for an undisclosed sum, after entering into exclusive negotiations, a majority stake in Parisian label Ba&sh, founded in 2003 by Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief, who will retain a shareholding in the company. A way for the European investment firm, whose portfolio features 18 companies, to gain a strong foothold in the women's ready-to-wear sector. Altogether, the companies HLD has invested in have 24,000 employees and generate an annual revenue of approximately €2 billion.
HLD was co-founded in France in 2010 by Jean-Philippe Hecketsweiler, Philippe Donnet and Jean-Bernard Lafonta, and currently has €2 billion in equity capital. Board President Lafonta started his career with the French government’s ministerial staff. He then joined the Lazard and BNP banks, and later the Wendel group, where he oversaw investments into companies like Legrand, Editis and Bureau Veritas.
In the last 12 years, he has helped HLD acquire stakes in companies operating in a broad variety of sectors. For example, eyewear brand Jimmy Fairly (bought in 2021 from Experienced Capital Partners), dermatological laboratory SVR (bought in 2014), equipment lease company Kiloutou (in 2018), the Rafaut group, a civil and military aviation contractor (in 2018), optical instrument manufacturer Photonis (in 2021), and Tessi, a company specialising in business process services (in 2017).
Among the companies which HLD acquired and later sold off are the Filorga laboratories (sold to Colgate Palmolive in 2019), Interflora (sold in 2015 to LFPI and Montefiore), and fashion e-tailer Sarenza, sold to the Monoprix group in 2018.
HLD, whose name refers to its three founders’ initials, operates offices in Paris, Luxembourg, Milan and Zurich, and has investment capital worth €500 million in shareholders’ equity available on an annual basis. The fund stated its aim is to “support senior management teams in building companies that will become leaders in their sectors,” targeting “high-potential” businesses. Over the years, HLD has boosted its financial clout by adding new names to its pool of investors, notably Claude Bébéar (former CEO of Axa), Norbert Dentressangle, and the Decaux and De Agostini families.
HLD has already heralded its goals for Ba&sh, which in 2022 is targeting a revenue of €320 million: it wants the label to top the €500 million revenue mark by 2025, notably by boosting its international retail footprint and by introducing new product categories.
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