Allen Edmonds, the U.S. maker of high-end men's shoes, has agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of Brentwood Associates, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm with a track record of successful investments in growth-oriented consumer companies. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Another fund based in Minneapolis, Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison, has been the owner of Allen Edmonds for the past seven years.
Reports in The Wall Street Journal in late October said that Men's Wearhouse was pursuing a possible purchase of the company but Men's Wearhouse, itself a takeover target, did not land the deal. It remains unclear whether Men's Wearhouse put in an actual bid, but it was officially out of the running just days after the original reports broke.
Allen Edmonds, well known for its handcrafted leather dress shoes, will remain an independent private company, according to Paul Grangaard, the company's president and chief executive. Grangaard added that in his view, Allen Edmonds is an eventual candidate for a stockmarket listing but it is currently too small. Grangaard has also announced that the leadership team responsible for the company's significant growth over the last five years will remain in place.
The company said that it will remain committed to its “Made in USA” manufacturing strategy and its expanding Port Washington, Wisconsin production operation. Allen Edmonds has been handcrafting shoes in communities just north of Milwaukee since 1922.
The new partnership with Brentwood Associates is said to ensure a smooth transition and to provide the capital needed to broaden Allen Edmonds' product line and to take its products to new cities around the globe. Allen Edmonds has just experienced two consecutive record years and 2013 seems to be on pace. Growth has already created over 250 new jobs in three years between company headquarters, manufacturing and distribution facilities in Wisconsin and in its retail stores across the U.S. The company has recently began exporting its branded U.S.-manufactured products to China.