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Berkshire takes control of jeans maker

Boston-based Berkshire Partners is the latest to fit into the jeans market, buying a control interest in Citizens of Humanity.

Boston-based Berkshire Partners has jumped into the premium denim market, acquiring a control position in Citizens of Humanity.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a report in Women’s Wear Daily indicated that the firm would gain a 66 percent stake in the jeans maker, with an investment of between $250 million and $300 million in size.

Berkshire Partners is just the latest to invest in the denim space.

Citizens of Humanity was founded by Jerome Dahan in 2003. The Huntington Park, California-based company is considered a high-end brand of apparel, and is distributed through specialty clothing boutiques and other retail outlets.

According to a press release, the company had been the target of takeover interest for the past six months, and received an unsolicited bid from a large competitor.

The Berkshire investment, meanwhile, allows Dahan to maintain strategic control, but provides the backing necessary to expand. “Partnering with Berkshire Partners enables me to continue my role as CEO and designer… and provides the company with the benefit of Berkshire’s financial resources and strategic guidance,” Dahan said in a statement.

Private equity, in recent years, has developed somewhat of a fashion sense. The denim market, in particular, has been a popular destination, as Sun Capital Partners last year led a deal to buy London-based jeans company Lee Cooper Group and Bear Stearns Merchant Banking recently acquired a minority stake in 7 For All Mankind. (Dahan was a co-founder of 7 For All Mankind).

Citizens of Humanity will use the funding to expand its core women’s line, as well as its recently launched men’s line, introduced last summer.

Investment bank Peter J. Solomon advised Citizens of Humanity on the deal, while CapitalSource provided a senior debt facility in the transaction.