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SBD Global/November 7, 2012/Finance

Nike Finalizing $500M Sale Of Cole Haan To Equity Firm Apax Partners

Nike is in “final negotiations to sell its Cole Haan handbag and shoe brand to private equity firm Apax Partners, in a deal that could fetch around $500 million,” according to sources cited by Kim & Oran of REUTERS. Sources said that London-based Apax has “teamed up with former Converse CEO Jack Boys to help run Cole Haan after a takeover.” Nike in May said that it was “looking to sell Cole Haan and soccer gear unit Umbro and announced a $225 million deal last month to sell Umbro to Iconix Brand Group” (REUTERS, 11/5). USA TODAY’s Peter Lattman noted among Cole Haan’s “best-selling lines are its Maria Sharapova signature ballet flats,” which Sharapova “helped design.” It was unclear “whether an independent Cole Haan would continue to use Nike’s air-cushion technology.” But if it did, Cole Haan “would probably have to pay its former parent a licensing fee” (USA TODAY, 11/6). In London, David Gelles noted that Nike bought Cole Haan for about $90M in '88. During that time it has made the brand "one of the best known" American shoe names. However, in recent years customers have "begun to complain on shopping websites about its deteriorating quality." The company’s "diminished reputation will pose a test for Apax, which will have to restore the brand to its previous lustre while also squeezing out a profit and finding new efficiencies." Cole Haan generated $535M in revenues last fiscal year (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/5).
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