The marriage will significantly increase both companies’ capabilities and broaden their reach in a major way. Aldo derives most of its business from retail and international, while Camuto has robust wholesale and licensing operations and is focused mainly on the U.S market.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed and the deal is subject to customary closing conditions. The new company will operate two distinct offices, one in Greenwich, Conn., where Camuto is based, and the other in Montreal, where Aldo is headquartered. (The Camuto family will continue to operate the company’s apparel businesses.)
David Bensadoun, CEO of Aldo Group, told FN that his father, founder and company namesake Aldo Bensadoun first approached Camuto CEO Alex Del Cielo about a year ago to see “if the Camuto family might be ready to sell.” Four months ago, talks intensified.
“One family business is acquiring another. We both have that entrepreneurial spirit,” David Bensadoun said. “Both of our companies are heavily product-oriented, and they each evolved in different ways.”
Del Cielo — who worked closely with the late Vince Camuto for decades — said Aldo was the kind of company the legendary executive would have been proud to partner with.
“It was very important that the company be operated the same way Vince would have operated it [and we found that in Aldo],” said Del Cielo, who will stay on board and report to David Bensadoun. “We weren’t actively shopping the company, but the shareholders liked the idea and felt comfortable.”
The two founders share an impressive achievement: they both won FN’s coveted lifetime achievement award. Camuto took the honor home in 2013, while Bensadoun was fêted in 2016.
Both executives opened up to FN about their deep belief in surrounding themselves with great people and treating everyone with respect.
“If you look at the successes of the best companies in America, it was the culture that was built and remained long after the principals weren’t there,” Camuto told FN in 2013. “It’s never about one person. It’s about the teams you put in place. Without the right people, you’re nowhere.”
Bensadoun shared a similar sentiment in 2016 about his own vision: “When I started the company, I wanted to create a model of what I believed society should be,” he explained. “To me, there are certain human values that are important. Yes, you can work hard and succeed, but you should not tramp on people. Everyone has the right to succeed, and you should enable them to reach their full potential.”
Aldo’s deal with Camuto will certainly alter the playing field in an industry that continues to undergo rapid consolidation. Just last week, Michael Kors said it was buying Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion. That follows Coach’s move to buy Kate Spade for $2.4 billion.