According to Bloomberg News, L Catterton is considering, among a series of strategic options, a possible IPO for Birkenstock. If successful, this would value the German sandal manufacturer at over $6 billion.
According to the American media, citing sources close to the matter, the private equity fund is currently working with advisors including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan on a possible IPO in the USA. This could happen this year or during 2024,
L Catterton and Birkenstock declined to comment. Bloomberg Media points out, however, that L Catterton may well decide not to go ahead with the operation.
L Catterton, LVMH’s other strike force
A fund managing nearly $30 billion in consumer goods-related assets, L Catterton is the result of the 2016 union between investment company Catterton, LVMH and Groupe Arnault, the holding company of Bernard Arnault, CEO and principal shareholder of LVMH through his family.
L Catterton has a fashion and luxury division, having previously invested in the Ganni, Third Love, Everlane and Sweaty Betty brands.
In 2021, Catterton acquired the Birkenstock brand via a majority stake, with the support of Financière Agache, the family office of French billionaire and LVMH boss Bernard Arnault.
Although the price was not disclosed at the time, Bloomberg News estimated that the transaction valued the company at around $4.9 billion (€4.4 billion).
Bloomberg News specified that the Birkenstock brothers would retain a stake in the company.
In July 2021, Reuters reported that L Catterton had initiated discussions with investment banks to evaluate possible options for the sandal brand, including an IPO or SPAC merger.
From cheesy brand to luxury phenomenon
It’s been a long time since Birkenstock and its orthopedic shoes were exclusively worn by hippies and German tourists. They can now be found on the feet of the most fashion-conscious fashionistas who dream of giving themselves a gypset look.
Today, her Arizona sandal – a symbol of 1970s counterculture – and her Boston clog have become fashion wardrobe essentials. In its annual report, luxury e-commerce platform Yoox named the Boston model its best-selling shoe of 2022.
The brand, which was founded almost 250 years ago, has just released an anniversary and summer capsule collection.
2023 celebrates the 60th, 50th and 40th anniversaries of the Madrid, Arizona and Gizeh sandals. An ultra-exclusive collection limited to the respective birth years of each model: 1,963 pairs for the Madrid, 1,973 pairs for the Arizona, and 1,983 pairs for the Gizeh.
A pioneer in comfort footwear right from the creation of its famous flexible anamorphic sole, the German sandal brand benefited from a renewed appeal for products where comfort took precedence over design at the heart of the pandemic.
In 2020, the company is back in the headlines with the release of Birkinstock by MSCHF (pronounced Mischief). This transgressive collective of New York artists tore apart authentic Birkin bags from Hermès to make a pair of crocodile-skin sandals in the image of the German brand.
That same year, the brand was even voted “Sandal of the Year” by British Vogue. This media coverage undoubtedly helped accelerate searches for the brand, which soared by 225%, according to fashion app Lyst.
A comeback also driven in recent years by Generation Z, eager to challenge the gendered aesthetic diktats of previous generations and embrace the “Ugly Shoes” trend. This stylistic phenomenon is also embodied by other polarizing brands such as Crocs and Doc Martens.
Since then, some of the most exclusive brands, such as Valentino and Manolo Blahnik, have been jostling to sign increasingly edgy collaborations with Birkenstock.
Dior, a nugget of the LVMH group, has also recently repeated the collaboration it began last year.
In a utilitarian, colorful style, the luxury House has revisited the Tokio mules and Milano sandals. These models are available in three shades (yellow, khaki and greenish-grey), contrasting with the neutral tones of the previous collaboration, all enhanced by Dior’s Oblique monogram and the famous orthopedic sole. All initiatives that enable Birkenstock to stand the test of time.
Front cover photo: © Birkenstock