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Castanea Partners Buys Stake in Donald J. Pliner

Practices: Private Equity

Ropes & Gray represented Castanea Partners in its purchase of a majority stake in Donald J. Pliner, the designer footwear company.

The deal, which closed Feb. 16, installs Noel Hord, former president and COO of Nine West Group, as president and CEO. Pliner will serve as creative director with a focus on product design and marketing. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The Newton, Mass.-based Castanea is familiar with the fashion world, owning a majority stake in BJ LLC, which controls the Betsey Johnson retail chain. Castanea’s founders, Brian Knez and Robert Smith, are also former co-CEOs of the Neiman Marcus Group.

Led by Boston-based private equity partner Jane Goldstein, the Ropes & Gray team included tax partner Amanda Holt, tax associate Elizabeth Norman, benefits partner Jon Zorn, benefits associate Abby Baird and private equity associate Matthew Dunn.

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