TPG, Apax Bidding on Cole Haan

NEW YORK, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Private equity firms TPG Capital Management and Apax Partners are among several parties in the running to buy Nike’s leather handbag and shoe maker Cole Haan, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The auction process, which began earlier this summer, is in the second round with Cole Haan likely to fetch around $500 million, two of the people said.

Nike, the world’s biggest athletic shoe and clothing maker, said in May it would look to sell Cole Haan and soccer gear unit Umbro in order to divest non-core assets wh ile focusing on its namesake brand, as well as Jordan, Converse and Hurley.

The company, which has said it will complete the sale of both brands by June 2013, has hired Goldman Sachs Group to run these auctions, sources previously told Reuters. Nike acquired Cole Haan in 1988 for $80 million.

Private equity firm TPG already has close ties to the high-end handbag and shoe maker. Matt Rubell, a former chairman and chief executive officer of Cole Haan, is now a senior advisor at the buyout firm.
Representatives for TPG and Apax declined to comment. Nike and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Cole Haan is among several footwear companies that have gone on the auction block in recent months.

In May, footwear retailer Collective Brands Inc was purchased by a consortium including Wolverine Worldwide Inc , Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital for about $1.32 billion.

Family-owned footwear brand Doc Martens also explored a sale of the company although the discussions ended earlier this summer.

(By Olivia Oran and Soyoung Kim)

Image Credit: Nike/Cole Haan