Bain Capital has acquired a 50 percent stake in Toms Shoes from its founder, Blake Mycoskie, sharing ownership with him on a 50-50 basis. Toms says that the move will help it to accelerate its international expansion and its diversification out of footwear, while supporting its well-known philanthropic mission. Also, the company wants to open more physical stores in addition to those it operates in Amsterdam as well as in Venice, California and Austin, Texas.
Toms has won strong recognition among consumers worldwide because of its One-for-One policy of giving an extra pair of shoes or eyeglasses to people in need for each one that is bought. It has donated more than 10 million pairs of new shoes and 250,000 pairs of glasses since it was founded by Mycoskie in 2006, after visiting a village in Argentina where he saw many children who were not wearing shoes. A further boost has been Toms' recent decision to manufacture many of its shoes in deprived regions of the world.
Bain will help Toms to find a new chief executive to handle day-to-day matters. Mykoskie, who recently took a sabbatical, will concentrate on strategy including the possible expansion into other sectors such as clothing and household items. A first line of handbags and other leathergoods is coming out for spring/summer 2015. The company's latest diversification was into coffee with the establishment of Toms Roasting Co., whereby Toms will provide one week's worth of clean water to someone in need for each bag of coffee sold.
Bain's investment gives Toms an enterprise value of $625 million including debt, according to several reports. Toms received many expressions of interest after it let it be known that it was open to sell shares in the company, but a press release indicates that Bain won the contest after accepting a proposal to set up a joint fund with Mycoskie to help other social-minded entrepeneurs to pursue similar aid projects.
The valuation given to Toms is a high figure in view of its reported annual sales of around $250 million, with about 30 percent of them generated through its website. Observers feel that this is good news for the Adidas Group, which is examining the possible sale of Rockport. It is said to be asking for $300 million for a business that generates annual operating earnings before amortization (Ebitda) of $30 to $40 million on sales of around $380 million.