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River's End Acquires PremiumWear Brands
Volume 681
January 26, 2010

Top 40 supplier River's End Trading Company (asi/82588) has finalized a deal to purchase several brands provided to the industry by fellow Top 40 supplier PremiumWear (asi/72725), marking a complicated joining of the Minnesota-based businesses. It's expected that PremiumWear will become a division of River's End, providing the Page & Tuttle, Munsingwear and Jockey labels to the ad specialty market. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. "I think this is a wonderful opportunity for our company going forward," said Jayme Weber, president of PremiumWear, in an interview yesterday with Counselor. "We had been owned by Forsyth but they just didn't have the financial wherewithal to continue in the market in this kind of economy. River's End is two miles down the road from us and it's very strong financially."

Within the new structure, Weber will assume the title of vice president of sales, while managing the Page & Tuttle division. Selected PremiumWear employees will stay on with River's End, as the companies will have separate sales teams, catalogs and customer service departments. "We're committed to serving our customers the way we always have," said Weber. "All the contact information will stay the same. We'll continue to ship and embroider through our facility in Clarksville, TN."

Per the deal, River's End has also acquired the licensing rights to exclusively offer the Forsyth brand in the golf and ad specialty industries in the U.S. River's End is also negotiating to acquire the future licensing rights to the Munsingwear and Jockey brands, which Forsyth holds through 2010. Anticipating the deal with PremiumWear to generate significant revenue, executives call the agreement part of a "totally new business model" employed by River's End. "You can't do business as usual anymore," said Tim Klouda, River's End president of promotional products, in a recent interview with Counselor. "We're sort of a hybrid in that we're a wholesale distributor, a vendor and we offer decoration as well. Our industry is shrinking. As a vendor, you have to either take market share away from competitors or complete acquisitions."

In its last reporting to Counselor, River's End announced it generated 2008 sales of $85 million, while PremiumWear generated 2008 revenues of $48 million. Along with its private label, River's End also offers brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste, IZOD and Jerzees.

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