Wolverine Worldwide’s sale of its Sperry brand Authentic which owns brands like Ted Baker, Forever 21, Hunter and Reebok, closed on 10 January 2024.

The sale is expected to generate total proceeds of approximately $130m in the first quarter, earmarked to fortify the company’s financial position through debt reduction.

Through the acquisition, Aldo Group becomes Sperry’s North American partner for operations and global footwear design, production and distribution.

David Bensadoun, CEO of the Aldo Group said: “Our powerful operational structure for stores, wholesale and e-comm has been built over five decades, and we’re excited to put our deep experience to use right away elevating Sperry.”

Wolverine Worldwide began weighing its options for the Sperry brand back in May as it looked to invest more into its core growth brands Merrel, Saucony and Sweaty Betty.

This followed its move to divest or licence the Keds and Wolverine Leather brands in 2022, as both were low-profit contributors and built upon its strategy to “reduce complexity and prioritise growth brands in an effort to increase long-term shareholder value.”

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Chris Hufnagel, Wolverine Worldwide’s president and chief executive officer, emphasised the importance of selling the Sperry brand as part of the firm’s turnaround strategy.

He said: “We conducted a rigorous process that considered a comprehensive set of strategic alternatives for the brand, and we believe this is the best outcome for the company and our vision for the future.”

This move is said to follow the company’s previous asset monetisation transactions, which collectively generated nearly $250m in cash in 2023.

“In a very short time, we have meaningfully reshaped Wolverine Worldwide – simplifying the portfolio, reducing our debt, and redesigning the organisation to drive improved performance and profitability,” Hufnagel added.

“These efforts have enhanced the company’s capacity to invest in our brands and platforms … the next chapter in our turnaround is focusing squarely on building consumer-obsessed global brands and delivering greater value for our shareholders.”

Centerview Partners, LLC, served as financial advisors to Wolverine Worldwide. Legal advisory services were provided by Honigman LLP and Warner, Norcross + Judd LLP.

In early November, Authentic extended its partnership with Aldo Group, to further grow the Roxy footwear brand. Aldo Group became responsible for the design, production, and distribution of Roxy footwear targeted at women and girls in the US and Canada.