Wolverine World Wide, Inc. sold the Sperry brand to Authentic Brands Group, Inc. (Authentic) and the Aldo Group. The transaction closed on January 10.

The company said in a release that the sale will generate total proceeds of approximately $130 million in the first quarter to pay down debt, further strengthening its balance sheet.

“The sale of the Sperry brand is the next step in our turnaround and strategic transformation,” said Wolverine Worldwide’s president and CEO, Chris Hufnagel. “We conducted a rigorous process that considered a comprehensive set of strategic alternatives for the brand, and we believe this is the best outcome for the Company and our vision for the future.”

Through the acquisition, Authentic brings Aldo Group comes on board as Sperry’s North American operating partner for wholesale, e-commerce and store operations, as well as the brand’s partner for footwear design, production and distribution globally.

“We are excited to bring Sperry into the Authentic platform,” said Jamie Salter, chairman and CEO, Authentic. “Sperry’s influence extends far beyond fashion, embodying a lifestyle that celebrates exploration. We look forward to launching Sperry into a new era alongside ALDO Group, an incredible partner and leader in the footwear industry.”

Authentic plans to leverage its global network of category experts and best-in-class operating partners to grow Sperry’s product offerings and expand its market share around the world. In line with its proven playbook, the company plans to convert the Sperry business into a licensed model.

Authentic said it recognizes a significant opportunity to grow Sperry’s lifestyle offerings, including rainwear, sportswear, bags and accessories, along with a particular focus on expanding its presence across the APAC region.

“I’m thrilled to further deepen our partnership with Authentic and to announce that Sperry, an iconic casual brand we’ve long admired, is joining the Aldo Group,” said David Bensadoun, CEO, Aldo Group. “At our core, we are retailers where the direct relationship with the consumer is key.

Bensadoun said that Aldo will be adding 23 Sperry stores to the 430 other branded stores it operate in North America, as well as welcoming Sperry’s store employees to the Aldo team.

“Our powerful operational structure for stores, wholesale and e-comm has been built over five decades, and we’re excited to put our deep experience to use right away elevating Sperry,” he said.

The sale of Sperry builds on the Wolverine Worldwide’s previously announced asset monetization transactions that collectively generated nearly $250 million in cash in 2023.

“In a very short time, we have meaningfully reshaped Wolverine Worldwide—simplifying the portfolio, reducing our debt and redesigning the organization to drive improved performance and profitability,” Hufnagel added. “These efforts have enhanced the Company’s capacity to invest in our brands and platforms, and I am excited about the next chapter in our turnaround—focused squarely on building consumer-obsessed global brands and delivering greater value for our shareholders.”

Centerview Partners, LLC, served as financial advisors to Wolverine Worldwide, and Honigman LLP and Warner, Norcross + Judd LLP served as legal advisors.

Image courtesy Sperry