Birkenstock has a new owner.
The German footwear company is selling a majority stake to L Catterton, the private equity firm whose shareholders include LVMH and Groupe Arnault, the family holding company of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault. Financière Agache, the family office of Arnault, will also invest alongside the LVMH-backed private equity firm, according to a Birkenstock press release Friday.
The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed, although the Financial Times reported the deal valued the footwear brand at €4 billion.
The new partnership will allow the company to solidify its market position in Europe and the US, while also expanding in global markets like China and India. There are plans to expand the brand’s German production, logistics and sales operations, while investing in e-commerce expansion to bolster its direct-to-consumer business.
According to media reports that first surfaced in January, L Catterton beat out buyout firm CVC Capital Partners to gain the majority holding in the company. The high-fashion interest in the heritage footwear brand reflects long-term shifts in the way people dress, as the pandemic has accelerated a broader trend of casualisation in fashion.
Birkenstock was well positioned going into the pandemic. Its revenue grew 11 percent in the financial year ending September 2019 to hit €722 million ($870 million), according to Bloomberg. But 2020 was a record year, according to the company. That’s in stark contrast to the wider footwear market; last year, global shoe sales were down almost 20 percent to $286 billion, according to Euromonitor International.
The Birkenstock family will retain an undisclosed stake in the company.