Birkenstock is reportedly in talks with CVC Capital Partners over a potential $4.8 billion acquisition.
Having sustained its cool for over 250 years, the brand best known for its two-strap Arizona sandal could be taken over by the private equity and investment advisory firm. CVC already owns high-profile brands including Swiss watchmaker Breitling. This latest acquisition could value the family-owned German sandal brand at more than 4 billion euros including debt.
Birkenstock is rumored to have been exploring a sale for months with the help of bankers at Goldman Sachs. People briefed on the potential CVC sale told the Financial Times, “buyout group Permira and at least one other private equity group have also expressed interest in buying Birkenstock.”
It’s believed that CVC hopes to grow sales in new markets while capitalizing on Birkenstock’s loyal customer base. As Highsnobiety’s sportswear editor noted last year, “the sandals weren’t always considered cool among the fashion-conscious crowd — that’s more of a recent phenomenon. But as with most iconic products, the shoes have been highly popular among subcultures for as long as they’ve existed.”
But since Phoebe Philo debuted fur-clad versions of the sandal on the SS13 Celine runway a number of luxury brands have also embraced Birkenstock. There have also been collaborations with brands including Opening Ceremony, Rick Owens, and most recently Valentino.
A person close to the deal revealed to FT that CVC’s executives reasoned that Birkenstock’s longevity as a brand and prolonged appeal made it “less likely to fluctuate with fashion than that of Dr. Martens, which Permira owns and is planning to list.”
According to most recent reports, “no final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the discussions will lead to an agreement.”
Highsnobiety has reached out to Birkenstock for comment.