Wolverine World Wide’s $410m Acquisition of Sweaty Betty

By Jonathan Fuchs, Lolade Aluko, and Eden Yang,(LSE), Demi Akinjide, Zac Greenberg, and Ben Fobel (Bristol)


Overview of the deal

Acquirer: Wolverine Worldwide, Inc.

Target: Sweaty Betty

Total Transaction Size: $410 million

Closed date: August 2, 2021

Target advisor: Goldman Sachs International

Publicly-traded American footwear brand Wolverine Worldwide recently acquired a British women’s activewear brand in an all-cash $410 million offer. Though Wolverine operates one of the largest footwear and lifestyle brand portfolios, its international status has almost exclusively been focused in the footwear space, and so this transaction signals a strategic desire for Wolverine to move into other promising areas of consumer retail.

Sweaty Betty has grown to be a global brand cherished by female consumers, with impressive digital channels and its stores across the UK and Asia. Sweaty Betty’s range covers a wide array of women’s activewear and, increasingly, footwear. Wolverine’s long-established expertise and dominance in footwear will likely be key to Sweaty Betty’s growth prospects.

Wolverine Worldwide acquired all the shares of Lady of Leisure InvestCo, the entity that owns Sweaty Betty, as part of the transaction. This was acquired from private equity firm L Catterton, signaling Sweaty Betty’s new access to public capital in its future growth. This will prove important in Sweaty Betty remaining competitive against key competitor Lululemon, which is NASDAQ-traded and has begun undertaking strategic acquisitions of its own.

“The acquisition of Sweaty Betty complements our strategic shift over the last several years from a traditional footwear wholesaler into a consumer-obsessed, digital-focused growth company” - Blake W. Kruger, Wolverine Chairman and CEO

Company Details (Acquirer - Wolverine World Wide)

Wolverine World Wide is a publicly-traded American footwear manufacturer based in Rockford, Michigan. The shoemaker is known for its brand, Wolverine Boots and Shoes, as well as other brands, such as Hush Puppies and Merrell.

Founded in 1883, headquartered in Rockford, Michigan

CEO: Blake Krueger

Number of employees: 3700

Market Cap: $2.79bn (as of 11/11/2021)

EV: $3.13bn

LTM Revenue: $2.15bn

LTM EBITDA: -$16.2m

LTM EV/Revenue: 1.5x