Kenneth Cole may not be very good at keeping his oft-times controversial political views to himself, but when it comes to his company, the designer wants a little more control. He announced today that he has plans to buyout his namesake company and go private, the New York Times is reporting.
As chairman and chief creative officer, Cole already owns 47% of the company's shares, and holds 89% of the voting power but, according to the Associated Press, he's willing to fork over about $127.5 million to buy the remaining shares, giving stockholders $15 per share in cash, which is a 15% premium to the company's Thursday closing price. Or, in other words, a pretty good deal, which, if it goes through, will value the company at a whopping $280 million.
“Recent market challenges have created a sharply competitive landscape, and I believe it is now more important than ever to embrace a more entrepreneurial perspective,” Cole wrote in a letter to the company’s board, according to a news release.
The competitive landscape Cole speaks of may have something to do with Michael Kors' recent (and super successful) IPO: The two are both mid-market fashion retailers with outspoken and well-known designers, but recently, according to the Times, Cole has "struggled to keep up with" Kors, whom the paper dubs "Hermès for Staten Island."
Cole added in a statement, "I am convinced that private ownership is in the best interests of the business and the organization and that this proposal is in the best interests of the shareholders.” Despite his certainty, Cole said that he will not proceed with the plan until he has the consent of a special committee of independent directors.
Even so, it looks like the privatization of Cole's company is pretty much a done deal and fans of the brand can rest assured because Cole says he has no plans to resign or change any of the company's management.