Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE: WWW), which operates one of the world’s largest portfolios of lifestyle and footwear brands, announced today that it has sold the Keds brand to Designer Brands, Inc. (“DBI”), the parent company of footwear retailer DSW. In addition, the Company announced that it intends to grant an exclusive license to DBI for Hush Puppies footwear in the United States and Canada, where DSW has been the exclusive retail partner for Hush Puppies since last year.
“Selling Keds and licensing the Hush Puppies brand for the United States and Canada is an important step as we continue to advance our strategy to simplify the portfolio and direct resources to our growth brands. We are confident this will place Wolverine on an accelerated path to improved profitability and long-term shareholder value creation,” said Brendan Hoffman, Wolverine Worldwide’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are particularly pleased to have reached this agreement with Designer Brands, a longtime retail partner of ours and a natural fit to guide the iconic Keds brand into its next phase.”
“Combined, these transactions will generate total cash of over $90 million, including the monetization of working capital. The proceeds will be used to pay down debt and strengthen our capital structure,” added Hoffman.
The Keds brand sale closed effective February 4, 2023, and the Hush Puppies license is anticipated to be effective as of July 1, 2023. The Company will provide more information on the impact of these transactions in its upcoming earnings call scheduled for February 22, 2023. The Company also noted that its evaluation of strategic alternatives for the Wolverine Leathers business is ongoing.
Honigman LLP and Warner, Norcross + Judd LLP served as legal advisors to Wolverine Worldwide. Solomon Partners served as financial advisor to Designer Brands, Inc., with Thompson Hine LLP as legal advisors.
ABOUT WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE
Founded in 1883 on the belief in the possibility of opportunity, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE:WWW) is one of the world’s leading marketers and licensors of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children’s and uniform footwear and apparel. Through a diverse portfolio of highly recognized brands, our products are designed to empower, engage and inspire our consumers every step of the way. The Company’s portfolio includes Merrell®, Saucony®, Sperry®, Sweaty Betty®, Hush Puppies®, Wolverine®, Chaco®, Bates®, HYTEST®, and Stride Rite®. Wolverine Worldwide is also the global footwear licensee of the popular brands Cat® and Harley-Davidson®. Based in Rockford, Michigan, for more than 130 years, the Company’s products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in approximately 170 countries and territories. For additional information, please visit our website, www.wolverineworldwide.com.