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Berkshire Partners nears deal for Implus, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Berkshire Partners LLC is close to an agreement to acquire footwear accessories maker Implus Corp in a deal that values it at more than $600 million, including debt, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Berkshire Partners has prevailed over other private equity firms in the auction for Implus and is now finalizing a deal with the company’s owner, buyout firm Trilantic Capital Partners, the people said on Wednesday.

The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Berkshire Partners and Trilantic declined to comment, while Implus did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Founded in 1988, Implus makes insoles, socks, shoe care and fitness products. Its brands include Sof Sole, Airplus, Apara, Yaktrax, Sneaker Ball and Little Hotties. They are distributed to over 75,000 retail outlets across North America.

Trilantic acquired Durham, North Carolina-based Implus in 2011 from private equity firm AEA Investors LP for an undisclosed amount.

Boston-based Berkshire Partners has previously invested in a number of consumer products and retail companies, including women’s apparel company Aritzia, premium denim brand Citizens of Humanity, educational toy company Melissa & Doug and fashion brand retailer Opening Ceremony.