Published in Breaking News

Wolverine divests its Big Rapids-based Department of Defense contract footwear business

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, October 01, 2017 04:37pm

ROCKFORD — Wolverine World Wide Inc. has sold the assets related to its Department of Defense contract footwear business to Morristown, Tenn.-based Original Footwear Manufacturing Inc.

The sale also included Wolverine’s factory in Big Rapids, a large producer of shoes for the U.S. military, according to a statement. Wolverine (NYSE: WWW) said the move “will improve the future viability of the Big Rapids factory operations” because Original qualifies as a small business for set-asides that the are not currently available to the Rockford-based footwear and apparel company.

“We firmly believe that the sale of the Big Rapids factory and the DoD business to Original Footwear is in the best interest of the Big Rapids operations,” Blake Krueger, Wolverine’s chairman, CEO and president, said in a statement. “With new ownership, we feel the factory is better positioned to win additional contracts that will retain important manufacturing jobs for the community.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As a result of the transaction, Original Footwear will supply Wolverine with “certain products” manufactured at the Big Rapids facility. The deal did not include the Bates brand, which Wolverine will retain.

Original Footwear makes Defense contract footwear under the Altama brand. It also operates the Original S.W.A.T. and Ro-Search brands.

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