OTB Group Acquires Jil Sander

Only The Brave Bolsters Its Luxury Holdings Through Jil Sander Acquisition

Italian fashion group, Only The Brave (OTB) announced that they will be acquiring Jil Sander from Japanese conglomerate Onward Holdings. The price-tag on this deal has not been disclosed, but we know that it is part of OTB’s increased stake in the world of luxury fashion.

Jil Sander Designers – Lucie and Luke Meier

Luke and Lucie Meier, the long-time creative directors of Jil Sander, will continue their positions at the brand according to OTB’s president and controlling shareholder Renzo Rosso.

OTB is trying to diversify their holdings and part of this effort is directed towards expanding the group’s ownership of high-end apparel brands. Diesel is OTB’s principle brand, and it is struggling to find momentum, so these deals are essential to the health of the holding company. This particular acquisition is not an anomaly: OTB owns Marni and Margiela and has a licensing deal to produce Dsquared2. On top of this, OTB just recently bought a minority stake in LA-based Amiri.

The strategy of the group is to grow, both with the brands we have and with new opportunities.

Renzo Rosso, founder and president of OTB

The group has more moves on the horizon, and they have made it clear that they plan to keep an eye out for labels that could use OTB’s resources in production, distribution, and marketing.

Jil Sander | Fall 2020

Adding Jil Sander broadens OTB’s portfolio with a well-respected designer name, even though the brand has performed less well than the group may have hoped in recent years.

Jil Sander brought in revenue $92 million in the 12-months ending February 2020. $58 million lower than the sales of around $150 million when Onward acquired the brand in 2008. That being said, sales were bumped up when Meiers took the creative helm, and that is good reason to hope that the brand can maintain an upward trajectory.

A German brand, Jil Sander was founded in 1968 and has become known for its determined and understated take on ready-to-wear fashion. At the same time, the company has not been completely stable ever since Sander herself left the firm in 2004.

Prada Group SpA and private equity fund Change Capital Partners LLC both have taken their turn owning the brand, and designers Raf Simons had his critically-acclaimed moment with the label that helped to secure his status as a fashion star.

OTB had been looking at Jil Sander since January. And despite the litany of changes the brand has endured in recent decades, Rosso was captivated by the labels commitment to its signature minimalism.

I have admired and respected Jil Sander since the fashion house was first established. Despite the changes of ownership and creative direction, the house has always stayed true to its founder’s vision, maintaining an absolute commitment to beauty, quality and its signature minimalist approach. To be able to welcome this timeless jewel to our group of unique, unconventional labels is an honor and a long-term undertaking

– Renzo Rosso, founder and president of OTB

OTB is diversifying its holdings while repositioning its core-asset, Diesel. Despite the management changes OTB has instituted in the brand–namely, bringing Glenn Martens on as creative director–the group’s sales fell 14 percent to $1.6 billion in 2020.

Maison Margiela, on the other hand, is an optimistic sign for the group with sales rising 20 percent under creative director John Galliano, even in the wake of the departure of the brand’s chief executive Riccardo Bellini.

Jil Sander | Spring 2019

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