Birkenstock is being taken over by investment companies linked to the French businessman Bernard Arnault, the controlling shareholder and head of the French luxury goods group LVMH. The transaction will enable the German family-owned sandal maker to expand in Asia.
Under the deal, the private equity firm L Catterton and its affiliates, including Financière Agache, the investment company of the Arnault family, will buy a majority stake in Birkenstock. No further details were released but the transaction is believed to value the German company at €4 billion. L Catterton beat another private equity, CVC Capital Partners, in the bid.
The owners of Birkenstock, the brothers Christian and Alex Birkenstock, will retain a stake in the company.
Birkenstock said that the two brothers and the company’s management “are entering this strategic partnership after carefully examining all options.” The expansion of the company’s shareholder structure will “facilitate further strong growth in future growth markets such as China and India,” it added.
Growth in Europe and America will continue thanks to investments in the company’s German sites and the subsequent expansion in production, logistics and sales operations. Birkenstock also plans to further develop its direct-to-consumer business and its e-commerce platforms.
Arnault commented that “Birkenstock was founded nearly 250 years ago and has grown to become one of the few iconic brands in the footwear industry. We truly appreciate brands with this long heritage.” He added that Financière Agache and L Catterton “will provide support to the business so it can fully realize its significant growth potential.”
No details were released about the future management and governance of Birkenstock, but Michael Chu, the co-CEO of L Catterton said “we look forward to partnering with the exceptional management team and the Birkenstock family, as well as our long-time partner Bernard Arnault.”
Birkenstock, which traces its origin back to 1774, appointed Oliver Reichert and Markus Bensberg as the first non-family CEOs in 2012.