It looks like the long-rumored private equity takeover of family-owned Birkenstock could actually be happening soon. But it’s not likely to be CVC capital partners that are buying it. Instead, L Catterton, the group with close links to LVMH, is “nearing an agreement” to buy the German footwear firm. That’s according to Bloomberg, which cited “people with knowledge of the matter” and added that a deal could come next week and could value the company at around €4 billion ($4.9 billion).
These insiders also told Bloomberg that while CVC had been close to striking a deal earlier in the year, the owners of Birkenstock preferred L Catterton’s strong history with family-controlled consumer brands, as well as its ability to grow in Asia.But nothing is signed and sealed just yet and the sources also said a deal could still be derailed even at this late stage. Added to that is the fact that CVC is reportedly still interested if an opening arises.
For now, it all remains speculation as none of the parties involved have commented.
Birkenstock is a heritage brand with a history going back more than two centuries and – like other heritage footwear brands Dr. Martens – it has the distinction of combining both classic appeals with being a hot fashion label. That mixture recently helped Dr. Martens float on the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of £3.7 billion. High demand has sent its market capitalization past £5 billion since then, underlining the huge value of that classics-meets-fashion mixture when done well.
Birkenstock’s owners have chosen not to list the company but to go for an outright sale. Yet the rumored price of the brand shows that it too has massive appeal and huge potential. In fact, it's one of the hottest labels in fashion at the moment and has figured highly on recent Lyst Indexes as one of the most in-demand labels during the pandemic.
In the latest year for which results are available (the 12 months to September 2019), Bloomberg said it sold 23.8 million pairs of shoes with sales rising 11% to €721.5 million.