Kenneth Cole board approves designer's takeover

AP News
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Posted: Jun 06, 2012 2:03 PM
Kenneth Cole board approves designer's takeover

Kenneth Cole will soon own the namesake company that he founded in a deal worth $245 million.

The clothing and accessories company said Wednesday that its board has approved the fashion designer's offer to buy up the chunk of the company that he doesn't already own for $15.25 per share. That's above his earlier offer of $15 per share in February. It represents a 17 percent premium to the New York company's stock price before his initial bid.

Kenneth Cole is currently the chairman and chief creative officer of Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. He holds about 46 percent of its outstanding common stock and controls 89 percent of its voting power.

The designer feels the company will be able to grow better as a private company.

"I believe it is increasingly difficult to develop this type of culture in a public company context, where the public markets are increasingly focused on short-term results. 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," he said in a letter to the board in February.

Cole is acquiring the company through an entity he founded for the purpose, KCP Holdco Inc. The company did not respond to a call for comment from the designer Wednesday.

Its shares rose 53 cents, nearly 4 percent, to $15.07 in early afternoon trading.