Cole Haan Pulls IPO Plans

Cole Haan Inc. has officially withdrawn its plans for an initial public offering.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, the footwear and accessories maker announced that it has pulled back its registration to go public.

The move comes 10 months after a report indicated that the brand had delayed its market launch as uncertainties stemming from the coronavirus pandemic spooked some investors. Insiders suggested at the time that Cole Haan might wait until it sees improvement in the market before kicking off its IPO.

FN has reached out to a representative of Cole Haan for further comment.

Cole Haan’s bid to go public dates back to August 2019, when it confirmed with FN that it had begun the process of filing for an IPO. Two months later, it submitted a confidential filing with the SEC, and in mid-February, it announced plans to raise $100 million in an offering of its common stock. The Greenland, N.H.-based firm intended to list on Nasdaq under the ticker “CLHN” and offer all proceeds raised from the offering to its selling stockholders.

The heritage brand, currently owned by private equity firm Apax Partners, has undergone significant changes since it was sold by Nike for $570 million in 2013. (Apax, which also owns specialty retailer Rue21 and luxury platform MatchesFashion.com, is a major investor in the fashion and footwear spaces.) Prior to the acquisition, Cole Haan’s business was heavily centered on dress shoes, but it has since shifted its focus to fashion-comfort and casual footwear lines as the athleisure trend has picked up momentum.

Experts were thus bullish on Cole Haan’s potential as a publicly traded company, noting the more than 90-year-old shoemaker’s evolution from its classic New England dress styles to performance- and tech-driven footwear. However, the IPO would’ve come during a challenging period for the footwear industry at large, which is contending with high-profile bankruptcies and widespread store closures exacerbated by the COVID-19 health crisis.

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