Wolverine Worldwide acquires Sweaty Betty for $410M

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Founded in 1998, Sweaty Betty focuses on offering a wide array of high-quality, innovative and on-trend tops, bottoms, swimwear, outerwear and accessories distributed around the world. Courtesy Wolverine Worldwide

Wolverine Worldwide added another fitness and lifestyle brand to its portfolio.

The Rockford-based maker of footwear and apparel said Tuesday that it acquired London-based direct-sales women’s activewear company Sweaty Betty in an all-cash transaction valued at about $410 million that closed Monday.

Founded in 1998, Sweaty Betty is a global brand designed by women for women. It focuses on offering a wide array of high-quality, innovative and on-trend tops, bottoms, swimwear, outerwear and accessories distributed around the world. Over 80% of the brand’s revenue 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,” said Blake Krueger, Wolverine’s chair and CEO. “It also gives us a leadership position in the growing women’s activewear category. 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.”

Brendan Hoffman, president of Wolverine Worldwide, said Sweaty Betty “aligns perfectly with our strategic growth plan for Wolverine Worldwide,” including its focus on growing digital channels, expanding its international footprint and building a brand portfolio beyond footwear.

“Sweaty Betty’s expertise and focus on apparel, female consumers and best-in-class digital execution has proven to be a winning combination,” Hoffman said. “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 CEO 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,” Straus said. “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.’”

Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton, co-founders of Sweaty Betty, said they are “delighted” to be partnering with Wolverine Worldwide, “a company that is perfectly positioned to support the acceleration of our mission.”

“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,” the Hill-Nortons said.

Transaction details

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 about $410 million, funded by cash and the company’s revolving line of credit. It is expected to be accretive to earnings in year one.

Advisers

Rothschild & Co. served as financial adviser to Wolverine Worldwide with Baker McKenzie and Honigman as legal advisers.

Goldman Sachs served as lead financial adviser to Sweaty Betty; Financo/Raymond James served as financial adviser to Sweaty Betty; Gibson Dunn & Crutcher served as lead legal advisers to L Catterton, Wittington Investments and Sweaty Betty; and Pinsent Masons served as legal advisers to Sweaty Betty.

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