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Birkenstock Sells Majority Stake to LVMH-Backed Investors

Birkenstock, is selling a majority stake to the American-French private equity firm L Catterton and an affiliated firm, Financière Agache, Bernard Arnault’s family investment company.

Financial terms were not disclosed. For weeks, Birkenstock had been in exclusive talks with L Catterton, and the deal was said to value the firm at 4 billion euros, or about $4.8 billion. 

The two remaining relatives of the founder of the company, Christian and Alex Birkenstock, said they entered “this strategic partnership after carefully examining all options.”

They said the sale would “further strong growth in future growth markets such as China and India” and that the new partners would invest in German sites and expand production, logistics and sales operations. “At the same time the company plans to invest in the further development of its direct-to-consumer business and the expansion of its e-commerce platforms,” Birkenstock said in a statement.

Although Birkenstocks’ new connection to Arnault’s LVMH, is indirect – that is, via L Catterton – there is potential for greater collaboration between the luxury giant and the German footwear brand.

A leader in the luxury market, LVMH has a market capitalization of 266 billion euros. Its global presence and stable of brands and companies connect Birkenstock to various possibilities, everything from more of the savvy designer collaborations with the likes of Valentino, Rick Owens and Proenza Schouler that have brought the company so much attention over recent years, to a slot in the duty-free sector, thanks to LVMH’s DFS subsidiary.  

Although Birkenstocks’ new connection to Arnault’s LVMH, is indirect – that is, via L Catterton – there is potential for greater collaboration between the luxury giant and the German footwear brand.

A leader in the luxury market, LVMH has a market capitalization of 266 billion euros. Its global presence and stable of brands and companies connect Birkenstock to various possibilities, everything from more of the savvy designer collaborations with the likes of Valentino, Rick Owens and Proenza Schouler that have brought the company so much attention over recent years, to a slot in the duty-free sector, thanks to LVMH’s DFS subsidiary.  

Birkenstock reported revenues of 720 million euros in 2019. In Friday’s statement, Birkenstock said it is “performing better than ever before in its 250-year history and reported “another record year” despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Certainly Birkenstock, which produces around 24 million pairs of shoes per year, has been one of the winners of lockdowns everywhere. Between April and June in 2020, searches for the brand’s distinctive sandals rose 225 percent, according to online fashion search engine Lyst.

A Birkenstock spokesperson noted that the brand has grown steadily over the last decade.: “Sure, the lockdown and home office has given us a boost. But Birkenstock was beloved before the pandemic, and we believe we will be after the pandemic too.”

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