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July 1, 2022

Wolverine Worldwide offloads Champion trademarks to HanesBrands

Footwear firm Wolverine World Wide has announced its wholly-owned subsidiary Keds, LLC has sold the Champion trademarks for footwear in the United States and Canada to its longtime licensee, HanesBrands Inc, for US$90m in cash.

By Beth Wright

Under the agreement, Wolverine Worldwide retains a perpetual license to continue using the Champion trademark on certain footwear, including the Keds Champion sneaker that has been a mainstay of its Keds brand for decades. The transaction also successfully resolves outstanding litigation between the parties.

“This transaction represents a unique opportunity to simplify our business model while at the same time securing a significant amount of cash at a meaningful multiple of future expected royalty streams,” says Brendan Hoffman, Wolverine Worldwide’s president and CEO. “Also, by retaining a perpetual license our Keds brand will continue to market and sell the iconic Keds Champion sneaker that its consumers have worn and loved for generations.”

Founded in 1883, Wolverine’s portfolio includes Merrell, Saucony, Sweaty Betty, Sperry, Hush Puppies, Wolverine, Keds, Chaco, Bates, HYTEST, and Stride Rite. It is also the global footwear licensee of the Cat and Harley-Davidson brands.

Last month, the company said full-year revenue is expected to be in the range of $2.78-$2.85bn, representing growth of approximately 15-18%.

The forecast came on the back of a 20.4% rise in first-quarter total revenue to $614.8m from $510.7m a year prior. Net earnings amounted to $8.4m, compared to $38.4m in the prior-year period.

Wolverine recently partnered with mycelium technology company Ecovative to collaborate in the testing, development, and commercialisation of custom mycelium materials for use in their products.

It joined the Ecovative mycelium cooperative alongside sustainable fashion company Reformation, joining a roster of brands collaborating with Ecovative in the Fashion for Good initiated project, including Bestseller, Pangaia, PVH Corp, and Vivobarefoot.  

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