Birkenstock is reportedly exploring a sale to a private equity firm.
The German shoemaker, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke with Bloomberg, is said to be in “advanced negotiations” with CVC Capital Partners. The deal could value the brand at roughly $4.8 billion including debt.
According to the report, no final decisions have been made. Other reports have indicated that Permira, which owns Dr. Martens, and at least one other private equity firm have also expressed interest in snapping up Birkenstock.
FN reached out to Birkenstock, which shared no comment. CVC also declined to comment for this story. CVC’s diverse portfolio includes Swiss watchmaker Breitling, beauty retailer Douglas, pet food chain Petco and sports betting provider Tipico.
Over the past year, Birkenstock — whose roots stretch back to 1774 — recorded material gains as the global coronavirus pandemic drove people indoors and subsequently changed their buying habits. According to fashion search platform Lyst, the Birkenstock Arizona was the most-searched shoe in the world during the second quarter of 2020, with a 225% increase in online queries and many retailers selling out of the two-strap slide. It was also spotted on a slew of celebrities, including Kanye West, Reese Witherspoon and Jason Momoa, who presented Birkenstock with FN’s Brand of the Year award at the first virtual FN Achievement Awards last month.
The company’s annual revenues for the 2020 fiscal year, which ended in September, easily surpassed the prior year period. Speaking with FN in mid-September, Birkenstock Group co-CEO Oliver Reichert said, “Because of the shutdown, we will be a bit under last year’s results in regard to EBIT. We shut down our production facilities for nearly two months. But in the end, globally, we will have reached the same figures in 10 months as in 12 months last year, which shows we are still growing very fast, by two-digit percentages every year.”
Outside of its products, the Birkenstock U.S. team also was lauded for its decision to shutter its offices on Election Day to give employees the opportunity to cast their votes. The brand was one of the first to make the announcement and helped inspire other companies to follow suit.