Exclusive: BCBG exploring sale, may fetch $1 billion - sources

Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:33pm EST
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By Olivia Oran and Martinne Geller

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fashion house BCBG Max Azria Group Inc, whose clothing has been worn by celebrities such as Beyonce and Angelina Jolie, is exploring a potential sale that could fetch around $1 billion, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The company, which owns the BCBGeneration, Max Azria and Herve Leger lines, is being advised by Blackstone Group (BX.N: Quote) on the sale process, said the people, who declined to be named because the talks are private.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based company, founded and run by fashion designer Max Azria, confirmed it had retained Blackstone to advise on strategy. She did not elaborate.

Blackstone declined to comment.

BCBG could attract interest from other fashion companies or private equity firms, the people said.

Azria is a French designer of Tunisian descent. He launched the brand in 1989, assigning it the acronym BCBG for the French phrase "bon chic, bon genre," which means "good style, good attitude".

This is not BCBG's first time on the block. UBS tried to sell it in 2010, media reports at the time said.

The company, which offers fashionable clothes at accessible prices, has been under financial pressure since the economic crisis. Max Rave, a teen chain it acquired in 2008, was shut down several years later and the company has struggled with a debt load since then.   Continued...

Designer Max Azria acknowledges the crowd as he waves at the BCBG Max Azria Autumn/Winter 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week February 7, 2013. REUTERS/Joshua Lott