By Daniel Woolfson
Birkenstock is considering a $US6 billion ($9 billion) sharemarket listing as the 250-year-old company once mocked for making “Jesus sandals” enjoys a surge in popularity as a high fashion item.
L Catterton, the private equity firm, has enlisted Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase to look at options for Birkenstock including a potential US float.
It comes two years after the shoemaker sold a majority stake to L Catterton in a deal that valued the company €4.9 billion ($8 billion).
The Birkenstock family is still involved in the business, with brothers Christian and Alex Birkenstock reportedly worth about $US1.7 billion each after the sale of the stake to L Catterton, which is backed by LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault, who is the world’s second-richest man, behind Twitter and Tesla owner Elon Musk.
The extent of the brothers’ current involvement is not clear, but a 30 per cent stake in the company could result in a $US1.8 billion payday were an IPO to achieve a $US6 billion valuation.
Birkenstock traces its history to 1774, to Johann Adam Birkenstock, a cobbler working in Langen-Bergheim, a small village in Germany. Over a century later, his great-great-grandson, Konrad Birkenstock, developed the first contoured and flexible insoles for shoes.
The cork-soled shoes were developed by Karl Birkenstock in 1963 and marketed as “fitness sandals” to promote the “natural gait”.
In the 1960s they became synonymous with hippies, tourists and older generations and were mocked for being “ugly” and described as “Jesus sandals”.
However, by the 1990s they became embedded in grunge subculture and in recent years have been worn by celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio and Kendall Jenner.
Birkenstock has also collaborated with high-end brands such as Dior, Manolo Blahnik and Valentino, some with a price tag of almost $US2000.
In the UK, the company has also benefited from the rise of working from home. The most recent accounts for the brand’s British subsidiary show revenue surged 57 per cent to £23.2 million ($45 million) in 2021 as shopping returned after the pandemic and home workers sought out more comfortable shoes, the company said.
Birkenstock and JP Morgan declined to comment. Goldman Sachs has been contacted for comment.
Source: Thanks smh.com