Riata closes $750m sale of WSS to Foot Locker

Under the Dallas-based firm's ownership, the footwear and apparel company doubled revenue and increased EBITDA five-fold.

Riata Capital Group has completed the $750 million sale of WSS, a Hispanic-focused specialty retailer of athletic, fashion, and work-related footwear and accessories. The buyer is Foot Locker. Baird advised WSS, while Jefferies was a a co-adviser to the WSS Board of Directors. Morgan Stanley, Jefferies, and Credit Suisse also advised the company with respect to public market alternatives.

PRESS RELEASE

DALLASSept. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Riata Capital Group (“RCG” or “Riata”), a Dallas-based private equity investment firm, today announced the closing of the sale of West Coast-based WSS (the “Company”), a premier Hispanic-focused specialty retailer of athletic, fashion, and work-related footwear and accessories, to Foot Locker for $750 million.

Since completing the recapitalization of WSS in late 2016, RCG actively contributed to the growth and expansion of WSS, including:

  • Doubling revenue and increasing EBITDA five-fold
  • Successfully entering the Texas market with 14 new stores to date
  • Driving customer loyalty through community engagement and digital initiatives
  • Forging strategic partnerships, including a strategic marketing partnership with the Dallas Cowboys Organization

RCG’s Co-Managing Partner Barron Fletcher, said, “We saw significant potential in the differentiated and community-oriented platform that WSS founder Eric Alon had created and scaled to meet the needs of families predominantly in underserved, high-growth Hispanic markets. WSS’s authentic, socially-conscious and community-oriented approach has resulted in rewarding outcomes for all stakeholders involved. We are proud to have worked with CEO Rick Mina and the entire WSS team to contribute to the Company’s considerable growth, value creation and strong value proposition for the families they serve.”

Jeff Fronterhouse, Co-Managing Partner of RCG, continued, “WSS’s success highlights our experience in building market-relevant, high-growth platforms in the Consumer, Business Services, and Healthcare Services sectors. We deploy both buy & build and organic growth strategies to accelerate growth and WSS is a compelling example of how a well-executed organic growth strategy can dramatically increase a portfolio company’s financial performance and overall valuation.”

In addition to the successful exit of WSS, RCG has achieved several important milestones, including:

  • Closing two new platform investments and 54 add-on acquisitions and investing over $270 million of equity capital over the last twelve months; and
  • Investing over $470 million of equity capital since late 2016

Additional Transaction Information
Baird served as the lead financial advisor to WSS with respect to the transaction, and Jefferies served as a co-advisor to the WSS Board of Directors. Morgan Stanley, Jefferies, and Credit Suisse also advised the Company with respect to public market alternatives. Manatt, Phelps & Phillips served as lead legal advisor to the Company along with Vinson & Elkins as a co-advisor.

About Riata Capital Group
Riata Capital Group is a Dallas-based private equity investment firm that partners with seasoned management teams to invest in growing, profitable, privately-held companies with a focus on three industry sectors: consumer, business services, and healthcare services. The firm takes a selective approach to investing in high-potential businesses whose owners and management teams want an investment partner with the capital, experience, and record of successful collaboration required to achieve their liquidity and value-creation objectives. Since 2016, RCG has closed over 100 acquisitions and invested over $470 million of equity capital. Over the course of their careers, the principals of RCG have sponsored over 200 acquisitions representing over $4.9 billion in transaction value. The firm targets equity investments of $25$150 million in companies with $5$30 million of EBITDA. With significant investment experience, a balanced team with financial and operating expertise, a strong team of seasoned operating partners, and significant experience in the firm’s core sectors, Riata provides a compelling value proposition to business owners and entrepreneurs.

About WSS
WSS is a premier footwear and apparel retailer in the U.S. doing business in inner-city, neighborhood-based stores. Consumers trust WSS for the best brands and largest selection of athletic, dress, fashion, work and casual footwear for the entire family. WSS’s large store format enables it to showcase thousands of styles from top name brands, which include Nike, Jordan, adidas, Vans, Converse, Puma, Reebok, Fila and Timberland, among others. In addition, WSS carries high quality private brands augmenting the breadth of selection to deliver amazing value to its customers. Founded in Southern California in 1984 by entrepreneur Eric Alon, WSS has grown to 93 stores primarily on the West Coast.

Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements pertaining to Riata Capital Group’s private equity investment business. Other than statements of historical fact, all statements that address activities, events or developments that RCG anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and expectations for the future. Although we believe such estimates and assumptions to be reasonable, they are inherently uncertain and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that are beyond our control. RCG makes no guarantee that other investments made by the company will be successful. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.