While many would-be buyers remained on the sidelines during the height of the pandemic, the mergers and acquisitions market heated up in 2021, thanks to brands and retailers expanding their reach in fast-growing markets.
Much of the action centered around the hot athletic lifestyle and athleisure spaces.
In the case of Wolverine World Wide Inc., the acquisition of Sweaty Betty gave the shoe giant a stake in the fast-growing and competitive women’s sportswear category, led by fast-growing brands like Lululemon.
No deal is generating more hype than Authentic Brand Group’s upcoming acquisition of Reebok for $ 2.1 billion. (It is expected to become official in the first quarter of 2022.) Here are the other M&A deals that caused a sensation in 2021.
The Brazilian company behind Havaianas acquired a 49.9% stake in sustainable footwear brand Rothy’s in December. In a two-phase transaction, Alpargatas will invest $ 200 million in primary equity, followed by an offer to acquire approximately $ 275 million of Rothy’s shares from current shareholders, with a post-investment valuation of $ 1 billion.
When the failed Sequential Brands Group tried to dump its Heelys brand in April, there was a natural home: the BBC. The company has been Sequential’s licensing partner since 2013, and now President Seth Campbell and CEO Josue Solano are looking to take it to the next level, as the company also fuels big earnings with Champion and supplements its new license with Land’s End.
In late December, Crocs Inc. announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire the privately owned footwear brand Hey Dude. The deal is valued at $ 2.5 billion and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022. The deal represents Crocs’ largest acquisition to date and is intended to help Crocs diversify its portfolio and leverage the Crocs’ already strong digital penetration.
Bankruptcy Sequential Brands Group continued its divestment madness and sold its 65% stake in skate player DVS Footwear to Elan Polo.
Foot of the fleet
Fleet Feet acquired JackRabbit from CriticalPoint Capital affiliates in November. The transaction includes all physical locations of JackRabbit, which spans 15 states, as well as the e-commerce business of Jackrabbit.com. The deal is expected to close in early December. JackRabbit was founded in 2011 as Running Specialty Group, The Finish Line’s running specialty store consolidation effort, and was acquired in 2017 by affiliates of CriticalPoint Capital.
As it continues to capitalize on the athletics boom within its core business, industry leader Foot Locker Inc., led by CEO Dick Johnson, has made large purchases to expand its reach. The retailer made a couple of power moves in August when it revealed plans to acquire community-focused WSS chain for $ 750 million and high-end Japanese player Atmos for $ 360 million.
In late October, Galaxy Universal LLC announced that it will acquire Sequential’s active brand portfolio, which includes the And1, Avia, Gaiam and SPRI brands. The deal, which is valued at nearly $ 330 million, is expected to close by mid-November and is subject to court approval.
British giant JD Sports isn’t shy about his intentions to be a big player in America. The company, which has led Finish Line since 2018, kicked off 2021 with the acquisition of Baltimore-based DTLR Villa LLC in a deal worth approximately $ 495 million. This came in the wake of its $ 325 million purchase of Shoe Palace.
Jessica Simpson and her mother Tina Simpson officially repurchased full ownership of The Jessica Simpson Lifestyle Brand in December. Sequential bought the majority stake from Camuto Group in 2015, but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August. In September, the singer opened up to FN to buy back her business as she and Tina were in the midst of negotiations with Sequential Brands Group Inc. At the time, they owned 37.5% of the brand they founded in 2005.
The new Lanvin Group brand has strengthened its holdings in the luxury sector with its second Italian acquisition, acquiring long-time footwear specialist Sergio Rossi and planning an expansion into Asia. Its portfolio now includes French house Lanvin, Austrian socks specialist Wolford, Italian menswear company Caruso and American fashion brand St. John.
Lancer took Iconix Brand Group as a private individual in an all-cash deal for $ 3.15 per share, totaling $ 585 million including debt. Iconix owns Starter, Candie’s, London Fog, Umbro, Zoo York, Ocean Pacific and other brands.
Birkenstock sold a majority stake to the American-French private equity firm L Catterton and to a subsidiary company, Financière Agache, the investment firm of Bernard Arnault’s family. For weeks, Birkenstock was in exclusive talks with L Catterton and the deal was rumored to value the company at € 4 billion, or around $ 4.8 billion.
As it continues to lead digital and DTC, Nike Inc. has acquired the Datalogue data integration platform. Founded in 2016, proprietary machine learning technology automates data preparation and integration. Nike now has the ability to integrate data from all sources, including its app ecosystem, supply chain and enterprise data.
In December, Nike also acquired RTFKT, a digital creator of virtual sneakers, collectibles and accessories. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 120-year-old retailer has redefined the idea of partnership – and one of his most out-of-the-box moves this year was to acquire a minority stake in the Topshop brands – through an expanded partnership with London-based Asos. Now the department store is looking to take Topshop brands to the next level, both in-store and online, and to grow its presence with other Asos brands as well.
The Ohio boot maker made a substantial purchase by acquiring the performance and lifestyle business from Honeywell International Inc. for $ 230 million. Now under his umbrella is the Original Muck Boot Company, as well as boot brands Xtratuf, Servus, Neos and Ranger.
Sean “Diddy” Combs bought back his streetwear brand, Sean John, in December with an offer of $ 7.5 million. It initially launched the brand in 1998 and sold a majority stake to Global Brands Group in 2016. The North American arm of Global Brands Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July and began looking for ways to sell its assets. , including the Sean John brand.
In early December, Shoe Carnival bought independent retailer Shoe Station in a $ 67 million cash deal, which marked Shoe Carnival’s first acquisition. Shoe Carnival will now own and operate Shoe Station’s 21 locations in five southeastern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana. With the addition of these units, the company expects to exceed 400 stores by the end of 2022 and will be on track for double-digit growth of new stores in the years to come, according to a statement.
Wolverine around the world
In a pivotal year for Wolverine, the company acquired the Sweaty Betty fitness lifestyle brand in an all-cash deal worth approximately $ 410 million. The move represents Wolverine’s commitment to e-commerce, a priority for Brendan Hoffman, who will take over as CEO from longtime leader Blake Krueger at the end of the year. It also gives Wolverine a stake in the fast growing and competitive women’s activewear category.
What else are we looking at:
ABG and Reebok: When Reebok officially joins ABG’s fast-growing portfolio early next year, where will the historic brand go?
Square and cash on delivery: In the booming buy-now-pay-later business, Square is expected to officially bring Afterpay under its umbrella in the first quarter of 2022.