CVC takes control of spun-off A Bathing Ape

A Bathing Ape store in Japan.

A Bathing Ape, the edgy street fashion label formerly part of I.T Limited, is set for further global expansion after private-equity company CVC acquired “co-control” of the brand. 

Bape, as it is colloquially referred to, was spun off from I.T Limited as part of a strategic restructure of Sham Kar Wai’s fashion business which has been heavily impacted by Hong Kong’s declining retail market after the Covid-19 pandemic and prior pro-democracy protests across the territory. 

I.T Limited was privatised in a US$168 million deal on April 30 with Brooklyn Investment, a company co-owned by CVC and Founder HoldCo, the latter of which is owned by Sham and his family.

Founded in Japan in 1993, Bape’s brands include A Bathing Ape, AAPE, Baby Milo, BAPE Black and Mr. Bathing Ape, sold in Asia, North America and Europe. I.T Limited bought the business in 2011 for US$2.8 million.  

In a statement, CVC said it planned to support the expansion of the Bape business both online and geographically.

“Bape will pursue the growth of its presence in overseas markets such as China, the US and Europe, as well as evolving its online offering to enhance the customer experience and optimising its marketing and sales channels through increased digitalisation,” the statement said.

“Bape is an iconic brand with a loyal fan base that has defined the fashion industry with its premium streetwear designs,” added Yann Jiang, a director at CVC. 

Sham, who is chairman, CEO and co-founder of I.T Limited, said he was proud of the success of the brand under I.T’s ownership. “CVC is the right partner to support the transformation of Bape as we focus on our long-term growth.”

The remainder of the I.T business – excluding Bape – is now wholly owned by Sham and his family.

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