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Acumen Brands, Dillard’s Friendly After $15.7M Buyout

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Acumen Brands CEO John James said last week that he still considers the folks at Dillard’s Inc. friends and mentors.

If you recall, in February 2012, Dillard’s invested $4 million in the e-commerce company headquartered in Fayetteville. Dillard’s investment called for the Little Rock retailer to work with Acumen to enhance both Dillards.com and Acumen’s online sites.

But Dillard’s was bought out of the partnership for $15.7 million sometime during its fiscal quarter that ended May 4 — a tidy profit after barely a year.

The buyout was tied to Acumen Brands receiving an $83 million investment from the New York firm General Atlantic.

James, though, wouldn’t comment on the transaction, citing confidentiality agreements. And Dillard’s spokeswoman Julie Bull was unavailable for comment Thursday.

“We enjoyed having Dillard’s as part of the Acumen team,” James said in an email to Whispers. He named Dillard’s President Alex Dillard, William Dillard III, a vice president of the company, and Kent Burnett, the senior executive in charge of information technology and e-commerce, as “great partners who helped us move the ball forward. … [Dillard’s] short-term engagement in our business helped both companies tremendously.”

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