Haband Bought By Golden Gate Capital

In a move that fulfills its quest to become a billion-dollar family of apparel companies, private equity firm Golden Gate Capital has acquired low-end apparel marketer Haband Co. Although calls to both parties were not returned at press time, the Federal Trade Commission granted Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust clearance on Oct. 23.

Founded in 1925 by M. Habernickel Jr. and John A. Anderson, Haband today is run by Duke Habernickel, the son of the cofounder. At more than $100 million in sales, Haband is one of the largest privately held mail order companies in the U.S. Besides its Oakland, NJ-based headquarters, Haband includes a 500,000 sq.-ft. distribution center in Eatonton, GA, a Peckville, PA-based order processing center that receives up to 15,000 pieces of mail per day, and a 140-seat call center in Athens, GA.

Haband, known for its folksy, homespun copy and durable, value-priced products, sells primarily through its loose sheet mailers and its Website, Haband.com. During the past few years, the direct mailer has also tested traditional print catalogs. According to its data card, the Haband masterfile has more than 2 million 12-month buyers, with an average order of $45.

The deal gives San Francisco-based Golden Gate Capital $1 billion in direct-to-customer sales. The firm started its catalog acquisition spree with Newport News and Spiegel in summer 2004 under its Catalogs Holding Corp. umbrella; it followed up with buying Draper’s and Damon’s, Appleseed’s, and the Tog Shop in November 2005. This past March it acquired Hillsboro, OR-based Norm Thompson. And on Sept. 6 Golden Gate announced the acquisition of Irvine, CA-based Carabella Corp., which consists of the Carabella and A.B. Lambdin women’s apparel businesses.

The downmarket Haband may seem an odd fit with some of Golden Gate’s higher-end properties. But the private equity firm sees Haband as another price point for Golden Gate’s core audience of mature women aged 50-plus–roughly the same age demographic as Appleseed’s, Draper’s & Damon’s, and A.B Lambdin.

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