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Guess Founder May Sell Shares

Trust controlled by Armand Marciano seeks to divest his nearly 15% stake in the firm.

November 28, 2002|Debora Vrana | Times Staff Writer

Fashion jean designer and retailer Guess Inc. said Wednesday that co-founder Armand Marciano may sell most of his nearly 15% stake in the Los Angeles company after going on medical leave.

The move is unlikely to mean a major ownership shake-up for Guess, which is controlled by Maurice, Paul and Armand Marciano, the three brothers who collectively own about 80% of the firm's stock, according to company officials.

Founded in 1981, Guess is one of the nation's premier clothing brands and designs, markets and licenses apparel, accessories and other fashion merchandise. It has more than 4,000 employees.

A trust controlled by Armand Marciano, the oldest of the brothers, requested that the company file with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell 6.49 million shares owned by the trust, Guess said.

"This is not going to change anything in the business," said Carlos Alberini, president and chief operating officer of Guess. He did not elaborate on Armand Marciano's illness.

"It's nothing serious. Hopefully, he will get better soon and be back," Alberini said.

He said a replacement will be named to take over for Armand Marciano, a senior executive vice president who oversees distribution in Los Angeles and a new distribution center being built in Kentucky. He is expected to return from his leave in March, Alberini said.

Armand Marciano recently put his Mediterranean-style villa in Beverly Hills on the market for $8.9 million because he and his wife, Marie, are moving to a new house, which took seven years to build.

Guess made the announcement after the stock markets closed. Its shares rose 29 cents to $5.45 in New York Stock Exchange trading on Wednesday.

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