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Wolverine Worldwide buys Sweaty Betty for $410m

Tom Bottomley
03 August 2021

Wolverine Worldwide, which operates one of the world’s largest portfolios of footwear and lifestyle brands, today announced that it has acquired British women’s activewear brand Sweaty Betty from private equity firm L Catterton for approximately $410m.

Founded in London in 1998, Sweaty Betty has grown to become a global brand “designed by women for women”. It has cultivated a loyal following through its purpose-driven mission and high quality products, including a wide array of innovative and on-trend tops, bottoms, swimwear, outerwear, and accessories.

Distributed around the world, over 80% of the brand’s revenue currently comes through direct-to-consumer channels.

Brendan Hoffman, President of Wolverine Worldwide, said: “Sweaty Betty aligns perfectly with our strategic growth plan for Wolverine Worldwide, as we focus on growing digital channels, expanding our international footprint, and building our brand portfolio beyond footwear.

“Sweaty Betty’s expertise and focus on apparel, female consumers, and best-in-class digital execution has proven to be a winning combination. We are excited to support the brand’s continued growth while learning from its digital-first mindset and leveraging that strength across our portfolio.”

Blake W. Krueger, Wolverine’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The acquisition of Sweaty Betty complements our strategic shift over the last several years from a traditional footwear wholesaler into a consumer-obsessed, digital-focused growth company. It also gives us a leadership position in the growing women’s activewear category.

“Wolverine Worldwide has a long and successful track record of acquiring and building brands, including performance brands like Sweaty Betty, and we are thrilled to welcome them to our company.”

Sweaty Betty’s Chief Executive Officer, Julia Straus, will continue to lead the brand and will report to Hoffman. She said: “Sweaty Betty has seen incredible growth over the past few years, and we are excited to further accelerate this growth as part of the Wolverine Worldwide family.

“From the moment I met the team at Wolverine Worldwide, I knew they were the right partner to support us in the next chapter of Sweaty Betty. Their portfolio of purpose-driven heritage brands, knowledge and expertise in building performance brands, robust international distribution, and supply chain expertise provides a strong platform to expand Sweaty Betty and further our mission to ‘empower more women through fitness all over the world’.”

In a statement, Sweaty Betty Founders, Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton, added: “We founded Sweaty Betty in 1998 with the purpose to empower women through fitness, and today we are delighted to have found the right partner in Wolverine Worldwide, a company that is perfectly positioned to support the acceleration of our mission.

“We’re so proud to have built an incredible community of active women who inspire us daily and are excited to see this powerful and supportive community grow worldwide.”

Wolverine Worldwide, which is behind well-known footwear brands such as Sperry, Stride Rite and Merrell, acquired all the shares of Lady of Leisure InvestCo Limited, the entity that owns the Sweaty Betty brand, from L Catterton and other shareholders, funded by cash and the company’s revolving line of credit. It is expected to be accretive to earnings in year one.

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