High-end apparel brand Vince explores IPO - sources

Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:05pm EST

Jan 28 (Reuters) - Vince, a contemporary sportswear brand owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, is exploring an initial public offering later this year, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

The company is working with banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc and UBS AG, the sources said.

Goldman Sachs, UBS and Sun Capital declined to comment.

Vince has not yet determined the precise timing of the IPO or how much money it is looking to raise, the sources said.

The IPO comes as Vince's parent company, St. Louis-based Kellwood & Co, is trying to take advantage of strong performances from recent retail IPOs, including Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. Shares of Kors have nearly tripled in price since the company's December 2011 IPO.

In 2006, Kellwood acquired Los Angeles-based Vince and related assets for $75 million.

Vince sells items such as $300 cashmere sweaters and $1,000 leather jackets at upscale department stores including Bloomingdale's, Barneys, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Earlier this month, Kellwood CEO Jill Granoff took over as Vince CEO from Vince co-founders Rea Laccone and Christopher LaPolice. Granoff is a former CEO of Kenneth Cole and has also served as an executive at Liz Clairborne.

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