L Catterton, the private equity firm backed by Bernard Arnault’s LVMH, has agreed to buy the German footwear group Birkenstock in a deal that values the company at about €4bn. Birkenstock brothers retain stake in the company.
Global lifestyle brand Birkenstock has reached an agreement to sell a majority stake in Birkenstock Group to L Catterton, the largest and most global consumer-focused private equity firm, and its affiliates including Financière
Agache, the family investment company of Bernard Arnault. Details of the agreement and the acquisition price are not disclosed due to confidentiality agreements between all parties. The transaction is subject to the usual antitrust audits.
The two brothers Christian and Alex Birkenstock and the management are entering this strategic partnership after
carefully examining all options. The expansion of the company’s shareholders is the next logical step for
Birkenstock to facilitate further strong growth in future growth markets such as China and India. In Europe and
America, Birkenstock will further expand its leading market position by investing in the German sites and
expanding production, logistics and sales operations. At the same time the company plans to invest in the further
development of its direct-to-consumer business and the expansion of its e-commerce platforms.
The involvement of the new partners marks the latest highlight of a unparalleled success story in the global footwear
industry, which started in 2012 with the formation of the Birkenstock Group under the leadership of Oliver Reichert and Markus Bensberg, the first non-family CEOs, and has since brought the company double-digit sales growth every year.
“Birkenstock was founded nearly 250 years ago and has grown to become one the few iconic brands in the footwear industry. We truly appreciate brands with this long heritage, and accordingly, I am delighted that Financière Agache, my family investment company, will invest in the company alongside L Catterton, with whom we have a longstanding and close partnership. Together we will provide support to the business so it can fully realize its significant growth potential.” – Bernard Arnault.
The move comes at a time when the long-established German company is performing better than ever before in its
250-year history. While many companies in the sector have suffered during the Corona crisis, Birkenstock recently reported another record year. In order to accommodate the strong growth, the Birkenstock CEOs recently launched a comprehensive investment offensive that includes expanding production capacity at the world’s largest manufacturing site in Görlitz and strengthening all of the other production sites in Germany.
“For the next 250 years we need partners sharing the same strategic and long-term vision as the Birkenstock family. In L Catterton and Financière Agache, we have found those partners. They bring both a deep understanding of the details of a manufacturing business that is all about quality and a respect for brands with a long heritage like ours. We look forward to taking the next steps with our partners and carrying our family business into an even brighter future.” – Christian and Alex Birkenstock.
Michael Chu, Co-CEO of L Catterton: “We look forward to partnering with the exceptional management team and the Birkenstock family, as well as our longtime partner Bernard Arnault in one of the most iconic and well-regarded brands in this industry. We are confident that L Catterton’s unique capabilities and our global platform and network will provide Birkenstock not only with new opportunities, but the resources to support the continued growth in the brand and the business.”