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Visionary Thinking: STEPPING FORWARD TO THE FUTURE...

How L Catterton plans to take Birkenstock to the world.

According to Vogue Business, “in the last decade, Birkenstock’s sales have grown double-digit every year.”

According to Vogue Business, “in the last decade, Birkenstock’s sales have grown double-digit every year.”

A level of success which make you wonder why the first non-Birkenstock family CEOs Oliver Reichert and Markus Bensberg (Bensberg recently stepped down as joint CEO) sold a sizeable percentage of the iconic footwear brand to L Catterton. With approximately $23 billion of equity capital across its fund strategies, Catterton is the largest global consumer-focused private equity firm.

The answer, it seems, is growth – the joint development of a truly global vision for the shoe brand.

Catterton were partnered in the deal by Financière Agache, the family investment company of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault. Arnault is, of course, a global-branding legend.

Reichert, now sole CEO of the Birkenstock Group commented: “Both future partners share our growth strategy; for our products to be represented in all international markets and in all channels, while maintaining our long-standing traditions and the unique offer of quality and sustainability."

Clearly, L Catterton and Financière Agache bring a deep understanding of the details of a manufacturing business that is all about quality, and a respect for brands with a long heritage. Failing to avoid the obvious pun, they and Birkenstock make a perfect fit.

L Catterton were determined to make the deal happen, beating a rival offer from CVC Capital Partners. Bloomberg reported, “In the end, the family owners of Birkenstock preferred L Catterton’s track record with family-backed consumer brands as well as its ability to expand in Asia.”

Leading Shopper intelligence site, Brandpower, gives a little more background to the deal, quoting France’s wealthiest man Arnault as saying “Together we will provide support to the business so it can fully realize its significant growth potential.”

Birkenstock then are going for growth. With the strategic input of their new partners there is every likelihood they will achieve it.

Drayton have been delighted to play a part in supporting the business through this hugely positive period of change. Our Apparel and Footwear Head, Wayne Mabbott commented “Having worked in the footwear sector for 20 years prior to joining Drayton, Birkenstock is a brand I have always followed and respected. To partner with them in appointing a new COO this year and other senior level positions has been a real privilege”.

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