ROCKFORD — Wolverine World Wide Inc. has finalized a deal to acquire London-based premium women’s activewear brand Sweaty Betty.
Wolverine Worldwide, which operates a portfolio of footwear and lifestyle brands, purchased all of the shares of Lady of Leisure InvestCo Ltd. — which owns the Sweaty Betty brand — in a $410 million all-cash deal.
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The deal, fueled by cash and a revolving line of credit, was effective yesterday.
“We take a very disciplined approach to acquisitions,” Blake Krueger, chairman and CEO of Wolverine Worldwide, said during a Tuesday morning conference call. “Sweaty Betty checks off all of our strategic criteria.”
“The brand offers a spectrum of growth opportunity aligned with the tailwinds of prevailing consumer trends, especially in the performance product category,” Krueger added. “Sweaty Betty’s strength in direct-to-consumer channels also aligns perfectly with our focus here. Sweaty Betty is a unique opportunity and a wonderful strategic fit for our company.”
Sweaty Betty was founded in 1998. It has since developed innovations in activewear, offering a collection of tops, bottoms, swimwear, outerwear and accessories.
More than 80 percent of Sweaty Betty’s sales are made through a direct-to-consumer channel, mostly through e-commerce. The model fits well with Wolverine Worldwide’s own recent push toward e-commerce, executives say.
Brendan Hoffman, president and incoming CEO of Wolverine Worldwide, estimated that the total global activewear market sits at around $200 billion, and continues to accelerate with macro trends that include a newfound consumer focus on health and casualization.
Hoffman said these same trends have helped bolster accelerated growth in some of Wolverine Worldwide’s portfolio companies, including Merrell and Saucony.
“Sweaty Betty is an authentic, purpose-led brand focused on empowering women through fitness and beyond through its social media channels, in-store experience, classes and events, charitable causes, and more,” Hoffman said. “Importantly, Sweaty Betty has brought this compelling combination of brand and product directly to consumers, fueling much of its growth through (direct-to-consumer).”
Rothschild & Co. served as financial adviser to Wolverine Worldwide. Chicago-based Baker McKenzie and Detroit-based Honigman LLP served as legal advisers.
“We founded Sweaty Betty in 1998 with the purpose to empower women through fitness, and today we are delighted to have found the right partner in Wolverine Worldwide, a company that is perfectly positioned to support the acceleration of our mission,” Sweaty Betty founders Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton said in a statement. “We’re so proud to have built an incredible community of active women who inspire us daily and are excited to see this powerful and supportive community grow worldwide.”