Private equity group Catalog Holdings buys Haband

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Catalog Holdings strengthened its portfolio of catalog brands that includes Spiegel and Norm Thompson with the purchase of Haband Company Inc., an 81-year-old, family-owned retailer selling affordable clothing for men and women via direct mail and online.

The transaction gives Catalog Holdings access to Haband's audience of moderate to middle-income Americans over 60. Terms were not discussed, but the investment banker involved said the Habernickel family completely divested its ownership of Haband.

"We always advise our clients the time to sell is when things are going well, because they'll get a much better valuation," said David Solomon, New York-based managing director and head of the direct marketing and specialty retail group at Goldsmith Agio Helms, which represented Haband.

Haband, Oakland, NJ, uses a combination of weekly mailings, print ads in newspapers and magazines, catalogs, three retail stores and the Web site at www.haband.com to sell casual apparel, footwear and home furnishings.

This is Catalog Holdings' 11th catalog title. Its roster includes Spiegel, Newport News, Carabella, AB Lambdin, Norm Thompson, Sahalie, Appleseed's, The Tog Shop, Draper's & Damon and Solutions.

Catalog Holdings is part of Golden Gate Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm with nearly $2.5 billion under management.

The Haband acquisition leaves Jim McClane as CEO. Other members of the Habernickel family also continue to occupy managerial positions. But chairman Duke Habernickel departs with this transaction.

Haband's appeal to the baby boomer demographic was its main attraction to Catalog Holdings.

"Haband is one of the target catalogs in the category," Mr. Solomon said. "It doesn't always make the list of the top 100, but it would be in the top 20. It's a very successful business focused on the over 60-plus population - the fastest growing segment of the population."

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