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Press release from Business Wire

Grupo Axo Signs Agreement to Sell a 20% Interest to Evercore Mexico Capital Partners II

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Grupo Axo Signs Agreement to Sell a 20% Interest to Evercore Mexico Capital Partners II08:01 EST Tuesday, January 11, 2011 NEW YORK (Business Wire) -- Grupo Axo, S.A.P.I de C.V. (“Grupo Axo” or the “Company”) and Evercore Mexico Capital Partners II(the “Fund”) announced today that they have signed and closed an agreement for the Fund to acquire a 20% interest in the Company. With this transaction, Grupo Axo, the leading brand management company in the Mexican retail and fashion industries, gains a strategic partner with proven experience and a strong reputation in Mexico. Grupo Axo currently distributes, operates and promotes on an exclusive basis clothing and accessory lines for Benetton, Brooks Brothers, Brunello Cucinelli, Coach, Emporio Armani, Etro, Guess, Marc Jacobs, Rapsodia, Thomas Pink and Tommy Hilfiger in the Mexican market. The Company will start operating the Payless ShoeSource and Sephora brands in Mexico in 2011. Grupo Axo sells its products through the retail and wholesale channels. The Company has reported net sales growth of 24.3% on a CAGR basis from 2007 through 2010, outpacing the industry's annual growth of 3.6% during the same period. “The strategic and operating experience of our new shareholders will further support Grupo Axo's growth as we work towards attracting new brands and strengthening our competitive position,” stated Andrés Gómez, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Grupo Axo. “We remain highly confident in our strategy. The capital the Fund is investing will propel our continued growth.” Pedro Aspe and Alfredo Castellanos from Evercore Partners will join the Grupo Axo Board of Directors which will also include Andrés Gómez, Alberto Fasja, Henry Davis, Alberto Torrado and Juan Ignacio Casanueva. “Our investment in Grupo Axo relies on solid fundamentals, in one of the most attractive sectors of the country's economy. The market knowledge and business expertise of Grupo Axo's executive management have allowed it to become an industry leader. It is a true honor to partner with such a successful business group,” declared Pedro Aspe, Co-Chairman of Evercore Partners. Alberto Fasja, Grupo Axo's Co-Founder and Co-CEO commented on the transaction, “We were looking for an institutional partner to help strengthen our internal processes, a partner with a shared business vision, considerable knowledge and flexibility to support Grupo Axo's future growth. The Fund's investment and participation will enhance our corporate governance procedures as well as help us execute our business strategy that includes strong organic growth of our current portfolio and the addition of new brands in the medium term.” Alfredo Castellanos, Managing Director of Evercore Mexico Capital Partners, stated, “We are thrilled to invest in Grupo Axo, a company we have known for several years. We are honored to join forces with such an extraordinary management team. We believe our capabilities complement Grupo Axo's unique vision and operational prowess and that, together, we will continue maximizing the company's value and leading competitive position in the Mexican retail and fashion industries.” Grupo Axo, founded in 1994 and based in Mexico City, distributes, operates and promotes internationally renowned brands in the Mexican market. It operates through a retail and wholesale strategy having strong relationships with key players in the industry. Grupo Axo is a strategic player leading the evolution of the retail and fashion industries in Mexico. Grupo Axo will close 2010 with 100+ free-standing and mall stores and over 1500 shop-in-shops and corners within major department stores. Grupo Axo currently represents Benetton, Brooks Brothers, Brunello Cucinelli, Coach, Emporio Armani, Etro, Guess, Marc Jacobs, Rapsodia, Thomas Pink and Tommy Hilfiger. For additional information please visit: www.grupoaxo.com Evercore Mexico Capital Partners is the private equity division of Protego and manages more than $190 million dollars of committed capital. Protego, founded in 1996 by Pedro Aspe, is a leader in investment banking advice in Mexico. Other private equity investments in which Protego has participated are: Volaris, the second largest airline in Mexico; Ike Asistencia, a leading assistance company in Mexico and Latin America; Lipu, the largest school and employee transportation company in Mexico; More Pharma, a Mexican specialty pharma company; and Servicios Corporativos Javer, the largest private housing developer in Mexico. Both Protego and Evercore Mexico Capital Partners are part of Evercore Partners, a leading independent investment banking advisory firm. For additional information please visit: www.evercore.com Evercore Media Contact:The Abernathy MacGregor Group, for Evercore PartnersKenny Juarez, +1 212-371-5999orGrupo Axo Media Contact:Karen Goldberg Carrillo, +5255-3000-5149kgoldberg@grupoaxo.com