German sandal brand Birkenstock has reached an agreement to sell a majority stake to L Catterton and Financière Agache, the family investment company of Bernard Arnault. Brothers Christian and Alex Birkenstock and the management will remain investors. Financial terms were not disclosed.
LINZ AM RHEIN, February 26, 2021. Global lifestyle brand BIRKENSTOCK has reached an agreement to sell a majority stake in BIRKENSTOCK Group to L Catterton, the largest global consumer-focused private equity firm, and its affiliates including Financière Agache, the family investment company of Bernard Arnault. Details of the agreement and the acquisition price are not disclosed due to confidentiality agreements between all parties. The transaction is subject to the usual antitrust audits.
The two brothers Christian and Alex Birkenstock and the management are entering this strategic partnership after carefully examining all options. The expansion of the company’s shareholders is the next logical step for BIRKENSTOCK to facilitate further strong growth in future growth markets such as China and India. In Europe and America, BIRKENSTOCK will further expand its leading market position by investing in the German sites and expanding production, logistics and sales operations. At the same time the company plans to invest in the further development of its direct-to-consumer business and the expansion of its e-commerce platforms.
The involvement of the new partners marks the latest highlight of a unparalleled success story in the global footwear industry, which started in 2012 with the formation of the BIRKENSTOCK Group under the leadership of Oliver Reichert and Markus Bensberg, the first non-family CEOs, and has since brought the company double-digit sales growth every year.
The move comes at a time when the long-established German company is performing better than ever before in its 250-year history. While many companies in the sector have suffered during the Corona crisis, BIRKENSTOCK recently reported another record year. In order to accommodate the strong growth, the BIRKENSTOCK CEOs recently launched a comprehensive investment offensive that includes expanding production capacity at the world’s largest manufacturing site in Görlitz and strengthening all of the other production sites in Germany.
Oliver Reichert, CEO of the BIRKENSTOCK Group: “In L Catterton and Financière Agache we have found not just shareholders, but also partners for achieving our global growth ambitions. They have a great deal of know-how and excellent access to international markets. Both future partners share our growth strategy; for our products to be represented in all international markets and in all channels, while maintaining our long-standing traditions and the unique offer of quality and sustainability “made in Germany”. We enter this partnership with both our traditions as a family business and a commitment to our roots and our employees front-and-centre. Together, today marks a quantum leap into the next chapter of our success story. However, we can only write this new chapter thanks to the great work and tireless dedication of all our employees.”
Christian and Alex Birkenstock: “For the next 250 years we need partners sharing the same strategic and long-term vision as the Birkenstock family. In L Catterton and Financière Agache, we have found those partners. They bring both a deep understanding of the details of a manufacturing business that is all about quality and a respect for brands with a long heritage like ours. We look forward to taking the next steps with our partners and carrying our family business into an even brighter future.”
Michael Chu, Co-CEO of L Catterton: “We look forward to partnering with the exceptional management team and the Birkenstock family, as well as our longtime partner Bernard Arnault in one of the most iconic and well-regarded brands in this industry. We are confident that L Catterton’s unique capabilities and our global platform and network will provide BIRKENSTOCK not only with new opportunities, but the resources to support the continued growth in the brand and the business.”
Bernard Arnault: “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, and accordingly, I am delighted that Financière Agache, my family investment company, will invest in BIRKENSTOCK alongside L Catterton, with whom we have a longstanding and close partnership. Together we will provide support to the business so it can fully realize its significant growth potential.”
BIRKENSTOCK is a global lifestyle brand with a heritage in iconic footwear, rooted in the creation of the BIRKENSTOCK footbed that can be traced as far as 1774. The notion of quality and function guides the brand in all its actions and across categories. The concept of all-round wellbeing is developed into footwear, sleeping systems and Natural Cosmetics, increasingly translating the lifestyle vision of the brand heritage. With more than 4,300 employees worldwide, this traditional, sixth-generation family-run business is also one of the German footwear industry’s biggest employers. BIRKENSTOCK was already using the term “footbed” in the 1910s, giving it the meaning which is commonly understood by consumers all over the world to this day – as a synonym for outstanding comfort when walking and standing. By the early 1970s, BIRKENSTOCK had become a global player. Manufactured in Germany, the sandals are now sold in more than 100 countries on all continents. BIRKENSTOCK also has a growing range of closed shoes, children’s shoes, and occupational footwear, as well as specialist products for orthopedic retailers, socks, bags, and belts. In 2017, BIRKENSTOCK added sleep systems and natural cosmetics (BIRKENSTOCK NATURAL SKIN CARE) to its portfolio of products. The company is headquartered in Neustadt (Wied). BIRKENSTOCK has 13 sites in Germany, in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Bavaria, and Saxony. The long-standing family-owned enterprise also operates its own sales offices in the United States and Canada as well as in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Denmark, Spain, the United Kingdom and Dubai.
About L Catterton
With approximately $23 billion of equity capital across its fund strategies and 18 offices around the world, L Catterton is the largest global consumer-focused private equity firm. L Catterton’s team of nearly 200 investment and operating professionals partners with management teams around the world to implement strategic plans to foster growth, leveraging deep category insight, operational excellence, and a broad partnership network. Since 1989, the firm has made over 200 investments in leading consumer brands. For more information about L Catterton, please visit lcatterton.com.
About Financière Agache
Financière Agache is a holding company controlled by Agache, the Arnault family holding company. Financière Agache and its affiliates hold a 97.5% ownership in Christian Dior, the controlling shareholder of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group. Financière Agache also holds a portfolio of diversified financial investments.