SC Johnson is taking over Melvo Holding from VR Equitypartner and other shareholders, building a larger shoe-care empire. The financial terms have not been announced. At the beginning of 2011, the American conglomerate had already bought the shoe-care operations of Sara Lee, consisting of the Bama, Kiwi and Tana brands and their product lines, for €245 million, representing a little more than one year of sales.

Melvo last reported sales of €42 million for 2010. The German-based company started its activities in the shoe-care sector as a component of the former Salamander group in 1922. It became an independent subsidiary in 2003 and was then sold in 2007 to VR Equitypartner and other shareholders, including Hanover Finanz. Two managers of the company invested in Melvo the next year with the support of DZ Equity Partners.

The company sells its products mainly under the Woly and Salamander brand names, and it recently added a French brand, Grison, to its portfolio in the shoe-care sector. Like Melvo, Sara Lee's former shoe-care operations are largely based in Germany. The acquisition of Melvo is subject to approval from the German anti-trust authorities, which may take a few months, and from the company's workers' council.

Melvo has been going through a major reorganization in recent times, and it has been expanding into big emerging markets, particularly in eastern Europe and India. It set up a new subsidiary in Russia in 2010. Its chief executive, Christoph Hirschmann, has indicated to Schuhkurier that there will be no cannibalization in the market, as all the brands will continue to coexist independently of each other.  On the other hand, there will be exchanges of know-how in terms of technology and sales.

SC Johnson, a large family-owned company previously called Johnson Wax, has its own operations in more than 70 countries around the world. It specializes in household cleaning products and other household and car care products. Some of them are sold internationally under brand names such as Autan and Mr. Muscle. The 127-year-old group generates annual sales of around $9 billion and employs nearly 13,000 people around the world.