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Ermenegildo Zegna Acquires Majority Stake in Thom Browne in $500 Million Deal

Ermenegildo Zegna purchased 85 percent of high-end New York fashion brand Thom Browne on Tuesday, leaving the eponymous 53-year-old founder as the only remaining shareholder.

Zegna bought the fashion house at an estimated $500 million valuation as the Italian men’s wear powerhouse continues to refurbish its image to better attract millennial consumers. Negotiated on behalf of Browne by Sandbridge Capital, the deal is also part of a larger movement to expand the century-old Italian brand’s influence among American shoppers. Already, Ermenegildo Zegna is among the world’s largest men’s wear producers by total revenue.

Thom Browne’s management looks to remain unchanged for the time being. Browne himself will continue to operate as the creative head of the company and CEO Rodrigo Bazan has been retained, as well. As a product of this arrangement, Thom Browne will remain independently managed, an outcome the founder says bodes well for the continued success of the upstart brand.

“I feel that their passion for only the best quality and craftsmanship is very much aligned with how I have always approached my collections…my conceptual approach to design and the long-term vision of growing a true luxury design-led collection for men and women is something we both feel strongly about as the future strength of Thom Browne,” Browne said in a statement after the acquisition.

Controlling interest in the company has been divided before. Sandbridge Capital owned stock worth 67 percent of Thom Browne and that was only after it was purchased from Japanese investment group Stripe International in 2016. Sandbridge Capital founding managing partner Ken Suslow worked closely with Browne in order to ensure the company would end up in the right hands.

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“This transaction ensures the continued long-term growth of Thom Browne,” Suslow said. “I believe that Zegna is the ideal partner for the Thom Browne brand.”

Thom Browne was founded in 2003 after Browne made a name for himself working on the design and merchandising team of Club Monaco for Ralph Lauren. Since then, Browne has received a number of high-profile endorsements and opportunities, including being chosen as the designer for Michelle Obama’s 2013 inaugural ensemble. Additionally, LeBron James purchased coordinating Thom Browne suits for his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates for the 2018 NBA Finals.

“Since we started looking at partnerships, I always knew that Thom Browne would be the perfect fit,” Gildo Zegna, CEO, and third-generation Zegna family member admitted. “Thom’s visionary approach and his unique point of view have enabled him to build and nurture the most loyal clientele. On this strong footing, and thanks to a thriving women’s business and strong appeal with millennials, we believe that we can build long-term value for all of our stakeholders.”