A 250-year chapter of the Birkenstock story has officially closed as Bernard Arnault’s Financière Agache and LVMH-backed private equity firm L Catterton prevails over rival bids to acquire a majority stake in the German sandal maker – through a deal rumoured to be worth €4 billion (AU$6.26 billion).
Just a few months prior, Financial Times revealed the family-owned operation had been exploring the possibility an acquisition by CVC – the group which currently retains notable interests in UnitedLex, Formula One Group, as well as Breitling – with the help of bankers from Goldman Sachs. This initial deal was rumoured to be worth around the same value ($6.18 billion).
CVC had ambitions to “grow sales in new markets while capitalising on the brand’s loyal customer base”, due in great part to the fact its executives believe Birkenstock’s popularity is “less likely to fluctuate with fashion” than the likes of Dr Martens (which rival firm Permira owns). But now, it appears that Birkenstock have picked another horse for the race ahead.
“For the next 250 years, we need partners sharing the same strategic and long-term vision as the Birkenstock family,” says Christian and Alex Birkenstock.
“In L Catterton and Financière Agache, we have found those partners. They bring both a deep understanding of the details of a manufacturing business that is all about quality and a respect for brands with a long heritage like ours.”
“We look forward to taking the next steps with our partners and carrying our family business into an even brighter future.”
As previously noted, Birkenstock certainly isn’t the shabbiest of investments by Financière Agache and the LVMH affiliated entity. Filings indicate the company generated €721.5 million (AU$1.13 billion) in revenues and €129 million (AU$202.15 million) in net income in the year to September 2019; that’s a 40% bump in net profit compared to the previous year.
Birkenstock currently employs 3,800 people.