Crocs Inc. shares have been jumping for most of the day on the heels of the firm’s announcement that it will buy back and convert some of the preferred shares owned by Blackstone Capital Partners VI LP.
The shares were acquired by Blackstone in January 2014 as part of a $200 million investment in the Niwot, Colo.-based clog-maker and carried a 6 percent dividend and a conversion price of $14.50 per share, equivalent to 13.8 million shares.
Crocs said it will buy half, or 6.9 million, of those outstanding preferred shares, for $183.7 million, or $26.64 per share. Blackstone has agreed to immediately convert its remaining 6.9 million preferred shares into common stock and will not to sell or transfer those shares to a third party for nine months. Blackstone’s right to nominate future directors will also be reduced to one, from two. Crocs will pay the private equity investment firm a one-time additional payment of $15 million.
The news appears to be widely viewed as a positive step for Crocs, which has recently started to reap the rewards of an aggressive turnaround plan that saw it ditch about 170 underperforming stores, close company-owned manufacturing facilities and tap A-list celebrities like Drew Barrymore to bolster its reach.
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“The immediate, and future, earnings-per-share accretion is the clearest benefit,” CL King & Associates analyst Steve Marotta wrote in a note. “Partially removing a potential overhang on the stock, as well as eliminating an after-tax dividend of $12 million, is beneficial to shareholders as well.”
In a statement, Crocs president and CEO Andrew Rees touted the improvements to the brand’s operations and its return to growth in the years since the Blackstone investment.
“Both the lockup and the current intention of the Blackstone nominees to remain on our board through their June 2020 terms evidence Blackstone’s continued confidence in our strategy and business prospects,” he added “Looking ahead, we are confident that by consistently executing against our strategic priorities, we will continue to expand our brand and our business, leading to incremental shareholder value creation.”
As of 3:30 p.m. ET, Crocs shares were in the green nearly 5 percent to $29.15.