L Catterton, Bernard Arnault’s LVMH-backed private equity firm, has agreed to buy out German shoe group Birkenstock in a deal that values the company at around € 4 billion.
The sale will see the family business, which dates back to 1774, transitioning to private equity for the first time. Its owners, Christian and Alex Birkenstock, will retain a minority stake, people familiar with the matter said.
Financière Agache, Arnault’s family office, will also invest in the deal alongside L Catterton, a consumer-focused buyout group that previously invested in Everlane e-commerce group, Peloton indoor cycling group and Build-A-Bear Workshop.
“In L Catterton and Financière Agache, we have found not only shareholders, but also partners to achieve our ambitions of global growth,” said Oliver Reichert, who alongside Markus Bensberg became Birkenstock’s first CEO outside of the family in 2012. “They have a great deal of know-how and excellent access to international markets. ”
L Catterton, formed when LVMH and the Arnault family holding company joined forces with US private equity firm Catterton in 2016, beat competition from CVC Capital Partners to guarantee the agreement. Permira, the buyout group that listed Dr Martens on the stock exchange last month, had also expressed interest.
The new owners of the company will continue to grow in China and India and expand their e-commerce and direct-to-consumer businesses, Birkenstock said in a statement.
He said the company had had a “record year” despite the coronavirus pandemic in which “many companies in the industry suffered”. Financial results for 2020 have yet to be released, but a spokesperson for the group said revenue for the year through September 2020 was in line with the € 721.5million it had. achieved the previous year, despite plant closures during lockdowns.
The company employs 3,800 people and made a net profit of 129 million euros for the year until September 2019, according to a company file. Net profit increased 40 percent from the previous year.
He’s been exploring a sale for months with the help of Goldman Sachs bankers, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. He turned to private equity bidders after initially exploring a sale to rival groups.