Biggest fashion and footwear M&A deals of 2021 – Footwear News

While many potential acquirers remained on the sidelines during the height of the pandemic, the M&A market heated up in 2021, with strong brands and retailers expanding their reach in fast-growing markets.

Much of the action centered around the athletic lifestyle and recreation 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 high-growth brands like Lululemon.

No deal is generating more buzz than the upcoming $ 2.1 billion acquisition of Reebok by Authentic Brand Group. (This is expected to become official in the first quarter of 2022.) Here are other M&A negotiators who have been making waves in 2021.

Alpargatas SA

The Brazilian company behind Havaianas took a 49.9% stake in sustainable footwear brand Rothy’s in December. In a two-stage transaction, Alpargatas will invest $ 200 million in principal capital, followed by an offer to purchase approximately $ 275 million of Rothy’s shares from current shareholders, resulting in a post-investment valuation of $ 1 billion.

BBC International

When the bankrupt Sequential Brands group sought to get rid of its Heelys brand in April, there was a natural focus – 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 is also fueling big wins with Champion and integrating its new license with Land’s End.


At the end of December, Crocs Inc. announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire the private shoe brand Hey Dude. The deal is valued at $ 2.5 billion and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2022. The deal represents Crocs’ largest acquisition to date and aims to help Crocs diversify its portfolio and capitalize on the Crocs’ already strong digital penetration.

Elan Polo

The bankrupt Sequential Brands group continued its wave of divestment and sold its 65% stake in skate player DVS Footwear to Elan Polo.

Fleet feet

Fleet Feet acquired JackRabbit from subsidiaries of CriticalPoint Capital in November. The transaction includes all of JackRabbit’s physical locations, which span 15 states, as well as e-commerce business The deal is expected to be finalized in early December. JackRabbit was founded in 2011 as Running Specialty Group, the effort to consolidate specialty running stores by The Finish Line, and was acquired in 2017 by subsidiaries of CriticalPoint Capital.

Walk-in locker

As it continues to capitalize on the sports boom within its core business, industry mainstay Foot Locker Inc., led by CEO Dick Johnson, has made some big purchases to expand its reach. The retailer made a pair of powerful moves in August when it revealed plans to acquire community channel WSS for $ 750 million and high-end Japanese player Atmos for $ 360 million.

Universal Galaxy

In late October, Galaxy Universal LLC announced the acquisition of Sequential’s active brand portfolio, which includes the And1, Avia, Gaiam and SPRI brands. The deal, valued at nearly $ 330 million, is expected to close by mid-November and is subject to court approval.

JD Sports

British giant JD Sports does not hesitate to announce its intention to be a major player in America. The company, which has run Finish Line since 2018, kicked off 2021 with its acquisition of Baltimore-based DTLR Villa LLC in a deal worth approximately $ 495 million. This follows his $ 325 million purchase from the Shoe Palace.

Jessica simpson

Jessica Simpson and her mother Tina Simpson officially acquired full ownership of the Jessica Simpson Lifestyle brand in December. Sequential bought the majority of Camuto Group’s shares in 2015, but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August. In September, the singer told FN about the buyout of her company while she and Tina were in negotiations with Sequential Brands Group Inc. At the time, they owned 37.5% of the brand they founded in 2005. .

Lanvin Group

The newly renamed Lanvin Group bolstered its luxury holdings with its second Italian acquisition, seizing footwear specialist Sergio Rossi – and planning expansion into Asia. Its portfolio now includes French house Lanvin, Austrian hosiery specialist Wolford, Italian menswear company Caruso and American fashion label St. John.

Capital of the Lancers

Lancer privatized Iconix Brand Group in a cash deal for $ 3.15 a share, totaling $ 585 million, including debt. Iconix owns Starter, Candie’s, London Fog, Umbro, Zoo York, Ocean Pacific and other brands.

L Catterton

Birkenstock sold a majority stake to the French-American private equity firm L Catterton and to an affiliate, Financière Agache, the family investment company of Bernard Arnault. For weeks, Birkenstock was in exclusive talks with L Catterton, and the deal reportedly valued the company at € 4 billion, or around $ 4.8 billion.


As it continues to power 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 application ecosystem, supply chain and corporate 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 its most original initiatives this year has been to acquire a minority stake in Topshop brands – through an expanded partnership with London-based Asos. . Now, the department store is looking to take the Topshop brands to the next level, both in-store and online, and to grow its presence with other Asos brands as well.

Rocky Marks

The Ohio boot maker made a notable purchase with its acquisition of the performance and lifestyle business of Honeywell International Inc. for $ 230 million. Under its umbrella is the Original Muck Boot Company, as well as the boot brands Xtratuf, Servus, Neos and Ranger.


Sean “Diddy” Combs bought his streetwear brand, Sean John, in December with a $ 7.5 million offer. He initially launched the brand in 1998 and sold a controlling stake to Global Brands Group in 2016. The North American branch of Global Brands Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July and began to seek ways to sell its assets, including the Sean John. Brand.

Shoe carnival

In early December, Shoe Carnival bought independent retailer Shoe Station for $ 67 million, marking Shoe Carnival’s first-ever 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 plans to surpass 400 stores by the end of 2022 and will be on track for double-digit new store growth in the coming years, according to a statement.

Wolverine around the world

In a pivotal year for Wolverine, the company bought out fitness lifestyle brand Sweaty Betty in a cash deal worth around $ 410 million. The move represents Wolverine’s commitment to e-commerce, a priority for Brendan Hoffman, who is expected to assume the role of CEO from longtime leader Blake Krueger at the end of the year. It also gives Wolverine a stake in the rapidly growing and competitive women’s sportswear category.

What else we’re looking at:

ABG and Reebok: When Reebok officially becomes part of ABG’s rapidly growing portfolio early next year, where will the famous brand go?

Square & Afterpay: In the booming buy-now-pay-ulter space, Square is expected to officially integrate Afterpay under its umbrella in Q1 2022.

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