Zimmermann Sells Majority Stake To Advent International
Zimmermann Resort 2024
THE AUSTRALIN LUXURY LABEL, FOUNDED BY SISTERS NICKY AND SIMONE ZIMMERMANN HAS A NEW OWNER. ADVENT INTERNATIONAL HAS ACQUIRED A MAJOITY STAKE IN THE COMPANY.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Australian womenswear brand Zimmermann just sold a majority stake of the company to Advent International, one of the world’s largest private equity investors. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.
The Zimmermann sisters founded the label in 1991, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Zimmermann has built a large and loyal following for its feminine dresses and swimwear that emphasize original prints and color. The company has 58 stand-alone stores across Australia, the U.S., the U.K., Europe and China, along with wholesale distribution in department and specialty stores, online luxury fashion retailers and Zimmermann.com.
Under the terms of the acquisition, Advent will acquire a majority stake in Zimmermann from Style Capital, which together with the Zimmermann family will retain a significant minority shareholding. In December 2020, we reported that Milan-based investment fund Style Capital had agreed to invest in Zimmermann (see it here). During that time, Style Capital acquired a 70 percent stake in Zimmermann for a reported 408 million Australian dollars, or $268.12 million at current exchange, with the Zimmermann family owning 30 percent. As part of the transaction, American private equity firm General Atlantic, which acquired a minority stake in the brand in 2016, had exited the Australian company.
The founders and the Zimmermann management team will continue to drive the brand’s growth.
Reports in the Australian Financial Review last month about a potential Advent acquisition valued Zimmermann at 1.75 billion Australian dollars, or $1.15 billion at current exchange.
Style Capital’s portfolio includes L.A.-based denim brand Re/Done and two Italian labels, Forte Forte and MSGM.
At the time of Style Capital’s acquisition, the company said its strategy was to help Zimmermann’s global trajectory with a focus on European and Asian retail markets; digital growth; increasing its wholesale footprint, and expanding into new categories.
The investment from Advent looks to take that strategy further, allowing Zimmermann to build on its strong multidecade performance by accelerating the brand’s international expansion in existing and new key luxury markets, such as Asia and the Middle East; to further expand its product categories and accessories, and strengthen its online and omnichannel presence.
Ranjan Sen, managing partner at Advent International, said, “Zimmermann presents a rare and exciting opportunity to acquire a fast-growing iconic luxury fashion brand with significant potential for further expansion. The Zimmermann team has successfully created a distinctive and desirable global luxury brand, which has built a loyal customer base around the world. We look forward to supporting the management team around the CEO, Chris Olliver, and Nicky and Simone Zimmermann, to help build on the company’s strong foundations and deliver superior continuous growth.”
Olliver added, “We welcome Advent as a successful global and like-minded investor. They bring proven experience supporting luxury brands in taking this next step and we are thrilled by the opportunity to work together.”
Nicky Zimmermann, chief creative officer and cofounder, said, “We are really excited to partner with the teams at Advent and Style Capital as we continue on our journey to build a unique global luxury brand from Australia. There are so many exciting opportunities for Zimmermann ahead and Simone and I feel extremely fortunate to be going on this journey with our team, one that started nearly 30 years ago at Paddington Markets in Sydney. For us, the opportunity to work alongside so many talented and passionate people each day is a privilege and there is so much we want to achieve together. We look forward to working collaboratively with our new partners to achieve our shared ambitions for the brand, with our loyal clients at the center of that vision.”
Roberta Benaglia, CEO of Style Capital, added, “We are delighted to partner with Advent and to continue to support the Zimmermann team. Early in our conversations with the Advent team, it became clear that they recognized the considerable potential within the brand and shared a common vision for further expansion over the long term.”
In 2019, D.M. Fashion Book reported that Zimmermann was forced to defend allegations of racial discrimination and a toxic workplace culture (see it here).
The Diet Prada Instagram account leaked an internal beauty guideline memo that had been issued to Zimmermann retail staff and also aired the grievances of “multiple” former interns who claimed to have firsthand experience of anti-black discrimination at the company.
According to the leaked “Grooming & Presentations Standards” document, which featured no black models and, according to Diet Prada, was in circulation until as recently as September 2019, the hair of Zimmermann retail staff must be “soft, textured loose waves, or blow-dried straight,” with “high buns, top knots, plaits, braids” prohibited (see the full article here).
Photos Credit: Courtesy of Zimmermann