Leading Japanese group Fast Retailing CO. LTD has just entered into a definitive agreement to acquire majority control of the premium denim brand J Brand from Star Avenue Capital, LLC, and J Brand management. J Brand is a leading contemporary fashion brand based in Los Angeles, California. As part of the transaction, Fast Retailing will acquire an 80.1% stake in J Brand and the balance will be owned by the management of J Brand. The transaction is expected to close by the end of December 2012, subject to customary closing and regulatory approvals.

Founded in 2005 by Mr. Jeff Rudes, Chief Executive Officer, J Brand has developed a variety of unique denim fabrications. Star Avenue Capital acquired a controlling interest in J Brand in 2010, and has built a solid operational platform to become one of the leading brands in the category, with its products sold in over 2,000 specialty boutiques and luxury retailers in more than 20 countries worldwide. J Brand reported net sales of approximately $124 million (approximately 10 billion Japanese yen) for the fiscal year ended December 2011.

The purpose of the planned acquisition of J Brand is to extend the Fast Retailing Group's brand portfolio among the affordable luxury apparel category, and to leverage J Brand's know-how in the area of premium denim and strengthen the group's capability to develop denim products. At the same time, acquiring a Los Angeles-based apparel brand will enable fast Retailing to reinforce its presence further in the crucial U.S. market. The existing J Brand management team, led by Mr. Rudes, will continue to lead and operate the company as one of fast Retailing's key businesses for the future.

Fast Retailing Co. designs, manufactures and sells clothing under six main brands: Helmut Lang, Comptoir des Cotonniers, g.u., Princesse tam.tam, Theory and Uniqlo. With global sales of 928 billion yen (about €900 million) for the 2012 fiscal year ending August 31, 2012, it is the world’s fourth largest apparel retail company and Japan’s leading specialty retailer.