A $1B Quest: Jones Looks to Tommy, Calvin as Polo Talks Drag

Is Jones Apparel Group’s overture to Tommy Hilfiger Corp. merely a negotiating ploy to irk Ralph Lauren - or does it desperately need the business?

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In 2002, Jones drove net profits up 34.8 percent to $318.5 million, or $2.36 a diluted share. Revenues for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2002, rose 5.9 percent to $4.34 billion. At the end of the year, Jones had cash and cash equivalents of $283.3 million. The firm’s long-term debt and its obligations under capital leases, though, mounted to $978.1 million.

On the other hand, Hilfiger, for the nine months ended Dec. 31, 2002, lost $399.8 million, or $4.41 a diluted share. The result was weighed down by a $430 million aftertax charge for a change in accounting principle. This compared with income of $93.8 million, or $1.04, a year earlier. Excluding nonrecurring charges, income dropped 7.1 percent to $87.1 million. Hilfiger’s revenues for the nine months inched up 0.9 percent to $1.39 billion. As of the end of the year, Tommy carried cash and cash equivalents of $485.6 million on its balance sheet. Long-term debt stood at $350.2 million.

The Jones Journey
Milestones in the History of Jones Apparel Group

1970 Founded by Sidney Kimmel as a division of W.R. Grace & Co.
1975 Purchased from Grace and incorporated as Jones Apparel Group
1991 Goes public on the New York Stock Exchange
1993 Acquires Evan-Picone label
1995 Obtains Lauren by Ralph Lauren license
1996 Sales pass $1 billion
1998 Acquires Sun Apparel and its Polo Jeans license for $457 million
1999 Completes purchase of Nine West Group for $1.4 billion, gets Ralph license
2000 Acquires Victoria & Co. for $87 million
2001 Acquires McNaughton Apparel Group for $499 million and Judith Jack for an estimated $20 million
2002 Acquires Gloria Vanderbilt Apparel Group for $144 million and RSV Sport, owners of L.E.I., for $394 million; Peter Boneparth succeeds Kimmel as ceo in May
2003 Company acknowledges conflict with Polo Ralph Lauren over licenses

SOURCE: Company reports, market estimates and WWD archives
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