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Woolrich remaining privately owned, despite rumors to the contrary

Despite what was reported in the New York Post on April 6, and what was subsequently parroted by other trade news services, Woolrich is not being sold and will remain private.


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Despite what was reported in the New York Post on April 6, and what was subsequently parroted by other trade news services, Woolrich is not being sold and will remain private.

Roswell Brayton Jr., Woorich’s president and CEO, spoke exclusively to SNEWS® to dispel the rumor and set the story straight.

“The article that came out in the New York Post is a little funny and certainly very premature,” said Brayton, who acknowledged that the company has explored its options in the past and would never be so presumptuous as to ever say never.

“I get overtures or requests for information almost every day. Some are laughable and some are from credible companies and investment groups. I was approached by some folks six or eight months ago that seemed to be serious and thought it was worth looking into for the benefit of the shareholders, the company and our employees,” he said.

Thinking that it would be in the best interest of Woolrich to look at more than just one investment or purchase offer, Brayton told us that he did retain investment bank Morgan Joseph.

“Working with Morgan Joseph, we spent time interviewing groups and potential investors and after all of that, it is our opinion that it is in the best interest of Woolrich to remain independent,” Brayton told SNEWS®.

“I do not know what the long-term future holds, but we are not having any discussions or negotiations with anyone right now. For me, it was a good experience to go through the process and learn a little about how it works. It is important to realize, though, that I never felt a need to have to do anything and still don’t,” Brayton added.

SNEWS® View: Ahhh, the rumor mill. The SNEWS® team remembers 15 years ago when the industry rumor de jour regarding Woolrich was that the company was acquiring Pendleton. Rumors about Woolrich being for sale or acquiring someone have been floating around in one form or another ever since. We love the fact that not one trade journalist, and certainly not the journalist behind the story at the New York Post apparently, picked up the phone to check the facts with the one person who would know — Roswell Brayton. Equally entertaining is the local paper reporter who, when speaking to Brayton we were told, asked him, after he denied the sale, if it was possible that Brayton might not know? Oh yeah, the CEO of a privately held company is always the last to know when his company is being shopped. It is even more entertaining that executives, apparently hearing the rumor, took it upon themselves to contact a recruiting firm to begin angling for Brayton’s job. That Woolrich was being shopped was, in our opinion, not really news. In fact, we checked in with Woolrich back in November when it became apparent the company was exploring options and, as is our style, agreed to keep a news lid on the process until there was something meaningful and substantial to report.