L Catterton Said to Rival CVC Capital in Race for Birkenstock

L Catterton, the buyout firm with links to the luxury French fashion houseLVMH, has joined the race to buy the iconic sandal-maker Birkenstock, according to people familiar with the matter.

The firm is competing with private equity groupCVC Capital Partners for the German footwear company, the people said, asking not to identified discussing confidential information. A winner could be chosen in the coming months, the people said. The Birkenstock family plans to keep a stake in the company after a sale, one of the people said.

Birkenstock could be valued at around $5 billion in any sale, Bloomberg Newsreported earlier in January. Both L Catterton and CVC are still conducting due diligence and there’s no certainty deliberations will lead to a transaction, according to the people.

Die Welt newspaper previously reported L Catterton’s interest, citing people familiar with the matter. Representatives for Birkenstock and L Catterton declined to comment.

Products geared toward comfort have been in high demand during the coronavirus crisis, which has confined people to their homes and reduced the need for more formal attire. Birkenstock is best known for its sandals worn by bohemians and fashionistas alike. The style has spawned a range of luxury variants from labels including Celine and Givenchy, following a celebrity-powered bump in the 1990s and 2000s.

Birkenstock sold sold 23.8 million pairs of shoes in the financial year through September 2019, which helped sales rise 11% to 721.5 million euros ($876 million).

L Catterton manages more than $20 billion dedicated to consumer-focused assets, according to its website. The firm as it exists today was created in2016 through a partnership with LVMH andGroupe Arnault, the family holding company of billionaire Bernard Arnault. Itsportfolio includes the women’s activewear brand Sweaty Betty and Pepe Jeans.

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