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2021 Round up: The most notable acquisitions this year

By Kelly Press


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Image: Reebok x Daniel Moon / Reebok

Anyone who takes a quick look at the news over the past year will have noticed one business trend: takeovers, takeovers and takeovers. Various fashion groups seem to be actively in the acquisition game, while other companies were presented with an opportunity that they could not turn down. To sum it all up: these were the most notable acquisitions of 2021.

Levi Strauss & Co new owner of Beyond Yoga

In August the acquisition agreement between Levi Strauss & Co and Beyond Yoga. Levi Strauss & Co. is of course known as a denim expert, but is taking the step to a new segment with the acquisition of the activewear brand. The activewear market was already on the rise before the pandemic, but now that the focus has shifted even more to general health and wellness during the pandemic, investing in activewear is a logical step for many groups. It is unknown how much money is involved in the acquisition.

Sweaty Betty, via Businesswire

Sweaty Betty acquired by Wolverine World Wide, Inc.

A similar move was made by Wolverine World Wide, Inc. which has acquired British activewear Sweaty Betty. 344 million euros was announced to be paid for the activewear brand. Wolverine World Wide, Inc. described the acquisition as: “The acquisition of Sweaty Betty complements our strategic turn from a traditional footwear wholesaler to a consumer-obsessed, digital-focused growth company in recent years.”

Fashion Cloud, new owner of Stockbase

B2B platform Fashion Cloud is the new owner of Stockbase. The acquisition is an opportunity for both parties to use each other's network to connect more brands and retailers. Stockbase is an online platform that makes it possible for fashion suppliers to make their stock directly available to retailers. Fashion Cloud connects approximately 15.00 retailers to 500 brands through its online platform. With the takeover, Stephan Bliek, the founder of Stockbase, left the company but will remain active as an ambassador for several years to come.

LVMH takes majority stake in Off-White

LVMH adds a new brand to the portfolio, namely Off-White. LVMH is no stranger to Off-White and its founder Virgil Abloh. Abloh is in fact the creative director of Louis Vuitton, one of the brands in the portfolio of the French luxury group. LVMH will acquire 60 percent of the shares of the popular brand and the remaining shares will remain in the hands of Abloh. It is not clear how much money LVMH will pay for the majority share. Unfortunately, the brand's founder, Virgil Abloh, passed away in November of 2021.

Off-White belonged to the New Guards Group, which in turn is part of Farfetch.

Image: Delvaux

Belgian bag brand Delvaux falls into the hands of luxury group Richemont

It had been rumoured for a while that iconic Belgian bag brand Delvaux would change hands, but the question remained for a long time: Who will take over the brand? At the beginning of July, news broke that luxury group Richemont appears to have emerged as the winner. 100 percent of the shares of Delvaux will be acquired, but at what price is unknown.

Marketplace Etsy acquires second-hand fashion marketplace Depop

Another case of 'we didn't see it coming': Fashion marketplace Depop was acquired by handmade goods sales platform Etsy, Inc.. Etsy pays 1.3 billion euros for Depop. For Etsy, the acquisition means a focus on the resale market and the Gen Z target audience.

Etsy, Inc. has the taste to make and continues on the acquisition path and not much later announced the acquisition of Brazilian peer Elo7. Elo7 is sometimes referred to as the Brazilian Etsy. The sales platform deposits 182 million euros for this company.

Peek & Cloppenburg makes a step to Denmark with the acquisition of Magasin du Nord

In May, the news came that the German Peek & Cloppenburg would take over the Danish department store chain Magasin du Nord. The latter will continue to exist as an independent chain. With the acquisition of the Danish peer, P&C strengthened its position 'as Europe's leading multi-brand omnichannel fashion retailer', according to the press release at the time.

Brandfield, now owned by Fashionette AG

German retailer Fashionette AG is strengthening its grip on the Dutch and Belgian markets with the acquisition of e-tailer Brandfield. The acquisition price of Brandfield is not mentioned, but the press release does state that it concerns a 'lower double-digit' million.

Birkenstock sold to L Catterton

Birkenstock, founded in 1774, was until recently in the hands of the family. At the beginning of this year, it was announced that investment company L Catterton and several associated companies, including Financière Agache, a family holding company of Bernard Arnault, will take a majority stake in the company. Birkenstock called the deal a strategic partnership that opens a new chapter for the company.

Image: Jil Sander SS21

Fashion house Jil Sander in the hands of OTB

It took a while before the actual confirmation came, after there had been rumours for some time about a takeover of Jil Sander by the Italian OTB Group. In March the redeeming word finally came, but no acquisition price was mentioned. Jil Sander previously belonged to Japanese conglomerate Onward Holdings.

Boohoo on takeover path: New owner of Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton

At the start of the year, Boohoo Plc makes its move. The e-tail group will first acquire retailer Debenhams for just under 62 million euros. While Debenhams is primarily known for its brick-and-mortar department stores, the deal won't save those. Boohoo Plc aimed to develop an online marketplace under the name of Debenhams.

A few weeks later, Boohoo deposited just under 29 million euros for three brands of the ailing fashion group Arcadia. Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton are now in the hands of Boohoo Plc. Overall, Boohoo Plc has grown significantly in recent years through brand acquisitions.

Asos takes over Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and Hiit

Another e-tailer going on a takeover path. In February, Asos Plc will acquire the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and Hiit brands from Arcadia. Asos Plc pays 300 million euros for the brands and thereby takes over the stock of the brands for 34 million euros. As with the takeover of Debenhams by Boohoo Plc, the physical stores are not saved here either.

Selfridges Group acquired by Central Group and Signa Holding

This month, the takeover of the Selfridges Group by Central Group and Signa Holding was announced. Signa and Central Group have formed a joint venture with which the Selfridges Group has been acquired. The price of the deal has not been disclosed, but media reports have hinted at a price of 4 billion pounds for some time.

Thanks to the deal, not only the Selfridge department stores are in new hands, but also those of the Bijenkorf and Brown Thomas Arnotts. What it will mean for department stores is unknown. In any case, the new owners are very familiar with luxury retail as Signa owns KaDeWe, Globus and Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof. Central Group owns, among others, Rinascente and Illum.

The possible takeover of the Selfridges Group was already rumoured by various media outlets in mid-2021.

Reebok acquired by Authentic Brands Group

A takeover that had been a long time coming was that of Reebok. It was no secret that owner Adidas AG was looking for a new home for the brand, however, that Authentic Brands Group eventually became the new owner was somewhat of a surprise. ABG paid 2.1 billion euros for the brand.

Metaverse company RTFKT acquired by Nike

Investments in the metaverse exploded in the last quarter of 2021. For example: Nike, Inc. purchasing RTFKT, a company that specialises in experiences and products in the metaverse. RTFKT uses the latest techniques in gaming engines, NFTs, blockchain and augmented reality to create unique virtual products and experiences. It is not known how much the sports company pays for the technology company.

Luxury brand Roland Mouret acquired by SP Collection

Fairly fresh off the press is the acquisition of Roland Mouret. The luxury brand is rescued by the newly founded company SP Collection. Behind the new company is Han Chong, the founder of Self-portrait. Roland Mouret's staff and stores will not be taken over in the deal. The acquisition price remains unknown.

French Connection in the hands of consortium

French Connection Plc finally finds a new owner after a long search: Since 2018, it has been looking for a saviour. The company is rescued by a consortium of bidders who pay just under 34 million euros. The consortium is called MIP Holdings ltd. Among the bidders in the group is Apinder Singh Ghura, a major shareholder of French Connection. With the acquisition of the company, founder Stephan Marks left the brand.

Sonia Rykiel acquired by G-III Apparel Group, ltd

A surprising new chapter in the story of fashion house Sonia Rykiel. A year and a half after it was rescued by the brothers Éric and Michaël Dayan, the company is already being resold. G-III Apparel Group, ltd turns out to be the new owner. The change should allow Sonia Rykiel to scale up faster after the relaunch it experienced in 2020.

Klarna takes over Inspirock

Payment service Klarna enters the travel world thanks to the acquisition of Inspirock. It is a striking move by Klarna, because Inspirock is not a payment service, but helps travellers plan their trip. The bundling of Klarna and Inspirock should make it possible for users of the Klarna app to plan and shop for a trip. The acquisition price will not be disclosed.

Farfetch acquires resale company Luxclusif

Farfetch Limited continues to focus on resale with the acquisition of Luxclusif. For an as yet unknown sum, it will become the owner of the resale company in 2021. Luxclusif is a tech and data-driven B2B platform that facilitates the purchase and sale of second-hand luxury fashion.

Crocs, Inc. new owner of Heydude shoe brand

Italian casual shoe brand Heydude will be owned by Crocs, Inc at the end of 2021. Crocs pays 2.2 billion euros for the brand. The goal is to further grow Heydude using the existing knowledge and infrastructure present at Crocs.

Optical chains VistaSì and Eyewish both found new owners

Earlier this year it became clear that GrandVision and EssilorLuxottica would have to sell part of their portfolio in order to meet the conditions for the merger of the two companies. EssilorLuxottica has been working on the acquisition of GrandVision for two years now. One of those conditions was the sale of stores and chains in Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium.

This article is a combination of two articles previously published on FashionUnited.NL, translated and edited to one article in English.

French Connection
Levi Strauss
Mergers and acquisitions