Candie's Inc. announced last week that it has acquired B.E.M. Enterprises Ltd., the holding company for the designer business Badgley Mischka, from its parent company Escada U.S.A. Escada has owned the Badgley Mischka brand for 12 years. The purchase includes the Badgley Mischka trademark, the rights to operate the designers' Beverly Hills retail store on Rodeo Drive and two existing licenses with Pronovias USA for bridal gowns and BC International for fur coats. The acquisition will be paid in shares of Candie's common stock.

Acquiring the luxury label is all a part of Candie's strategy to transform itself into a multi-brand licensing business and to build a more diversified portfolio of elite brands. In the past year, the company has eliminated its own production of the Candie's and Bongo footwear and jeanswear brands. And since May 2004, it has licensed operations of Candie's footwear to Kenneth Cole Productions Inc, Bongo footwear to Steve Madden Ltd. and is currently in the process of licensing Bongo Jeans to TKO Apparel Inc.

The company plans to take the same approach with Badgley Mischka, focusing on licensing and marketing the brand and finding an appropriate partner to take on production.

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Joselle Yokogawa, Features Editor