The parent of Sebago boat shoes has announced a deal to acquire its rival, Sperry Top-Sider, and three other shoe brands for US$1.23bn. Wolverine Worldwide, based in Rockford, Michigan, said it would finance the deal along with Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital.
The acquisition will give Wolverine the leading brands in boat shoes. “They are number 1 and number 2 in boat shoes,” Blake Krueger, Wolverine CEO, told the Grand Rapids Press. “They give us a one-two punch.”
Krueger said the brands, though competitors, do not have a huge overlap in buyers. Kreuger said the Sebago brand, which the company acquired a decade ago, has a stronger following in Europe and buyers tend to be males. Sperry, he told the paper, attracts a younger, more fashion-conscious female demographic. He added that Sperry is a “white hot” brand with 90 percent of sales in the US.
The acquisition of the Sperry, Saucony and Keds brands, as well as Stride Rite retail outlets, effectively doubles the size of the company.
“This transformational acquisition creates a powerful array of leading lifestyle brands that is balanced across product categories, genders and target consumers, with enormous opportunities for domestic and international growth,” said Krueger in a statement. The company now owns 18 shoe brands.