Wolverine World Wide Inc. announced that it has acquired Sweaty Betty, the U.K.-based women’s fitness and lifestyle brand. The all-cash transaction is valued at approximately $410 million and closed on August 2, 2021.
Founded in 1998, Sweaty Betty has cultivated a loyal following through its purpose-driven mission and products, including tops, bottoms, swimwear, outerwear, and accessories. Distributed worldwide, over eighty percent of the brand’s revenue currently comes through direct-to-consumer channels.
“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. It also gives us a leadership position in the growing women’s activewear category,” said Blake W. Krueger, Wolverine’s chairman and CEO. “Wolverine Worldwide has a long and successful track record of acquiring and building brands, including performance brands like Sweaty Betty, and we are thrilled to welcome them to our company.”
“Sweaty Betty aligns perfectly with our strategic growth plan for Wolverine Worldwide as we focus on growing digital channels, expanding our international footprint and building our brand portfolio beyond footwear,” said Brendan Hoffman, president, Wolverine Worldwide. “Sweaty Betty’s expertise and focus on apparel, female consumers and best-in-class digital execution has proven to be a winning combination. We are excited to support the brand’s continued growth while learning from its digital-first mindset and leveraging that strength across our portfolio.”
Sweaty Betty’s cCEO, Julia Straus, will continue to lead the brand and will report to Hoffman. “Sweaty Betty has seen incredible growth over the past few years, and we are excited to further accelerate this growth as part of the Wolverine Worldwide family,” said Straus. “From the moment I met the team at Wolverine Worldwide, I knew they were the right partner to support us in the next chapter of Sweaty Betty. Their portfolio of purpose-driven heritage brands, knowledge and expertise in building performance brands, robust international distribution, and supply chain expertise provides a strong platform to expand Sweaty Betty and further our mission to ‘empower more women through fitness all over the world’.”
“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,” said Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton, founders of Sweaty Betty. “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.”
Effective August 2, 2021, Wolverine Worldwide acquired all the shares of Lady of Leisure InvestCo Limited, the entity that owns the Sweaty Betty brand, from L Catterton and other shareholders for approximately $410 million, funded by cash and the company’s revolving line of credit. It is expected to be accretive to earnings in year one.
Rothschild & Co. served as financial advisor to Wolverine Worldwide, with Baker McKenzie and Honigman LLP as legal advisors. Goldman Sachs International served as lead financial advisor to Sweaty Betty; Financo/Raymond James served as financial advisor to Sweaty Betty; Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP served as lead legal advisors to L Catterton, Wittington Investments Limited, and Sweaty Betty; and Pinsent Masons LLP served as legal advisors to Sweaty Betty.
Wolverine Worldwide’s brands include Merrell, Saucony, Sperry, Hush Puppies, Wolverine, Keds, Chaco, Bates, HYTEST, and Stride Rite. It’s also the global footwear licensee of Cat and Harley-Davidson.
For more details about the transaction, go here.
Photo courtesy Sweaty Betty