Collective Said Nearing Deal With Wolverine

Shares of Wolverine World Wide Inc. opened 1.3 percent higher Monday morning on market buzz that it is the leading contender to buy Collective Brands Inc.

According to a Bloomberg report filed early Monday morning, Wolverine, in conjunction with Golden Gate Capital Corp., could announce they are acquiring Collective early this week.

But the decision isn’t final and could change at the last minute as the companies work out contract terms and financing, it added.

The Wolverine-Golden Gate offer values Collective Brands at $21 to $22 a share and is likely to be chosen over a bid from South Korean retailer E-Land Group, the report said.

Collective’s shares fell 2 percent to $20.80 when the market opened Monday.
Analysts said it is likely Wolverine will gain the Saucony, Sperry Top-Sider, Stride Rite and Keds brands, while Golden Gate will oversee the Payless ShoeSource retail chain, with particular focus on turning around the U.S. Payless business, which saw sales fall 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, 2012.

San Francisco-based Golden Gate has invested in other shoe companies including Rocket Dog, Wellco Footwear and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc.

In Wolverine’s first-quarter conference call last week, CEO Blake Krueger said the firm continued to aggressively pursue new buys. 

“We remain focused on acquisitions,” he told investors. “As a company, over the last 15 years, we’re very good at bringing new brands — whether the underlying business is good or not so good — into the company, nurturing them and giving them some global spread pretty quickly.”

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