Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 16:55
New owner intend to keep management team, Port headquarters
Months of industry speculation came to a close Monday when Port Washington-based Allen Edmonds Corp. announced it is being acquired by Brentwood Associates, a Los Angeles private equity firm.
According to the company’s statement announcing the sale, Allen Edmonds will remain an independent private company with Paul Grangaard staying on as president and chief executive officer.
The current management team is expected to stay in place, and the corporate headquarters will remain in Port Washington.
Grangaard took the helm at the high-end shoe company two years after controlling interest was acquired by the Minneapolis private equity firm Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison in 2006.
In the sales announcement, Grangaard said Allen Edmonds remains completely committed to its manufacturing strategy and expanding its Port Washington production operation.
“We are absolutely delighted to partner with Brentwood Associates as we drive the development of this 91-year-old growth company. This smooth transition provides us with the capital needed to continue building the Allen Edmonds brand, broadening our product line and taking our ‘Made in USA’ products to new cities around the globe,” he said.
The sale price was not disclosed. Company officials anticipate the transaction will be completed by the end of the year.
Various news outlets said the company had several prospective buyers, including retailer Men’s Wearhouse.
According to the announcement, Allen Edmonds is coming off two consecutive record years and is on pace for a third. After being staggered by the weak economy, the company has added 250 local jobs over the past three years.
In keeping with its growth mode, it recently began selling its shoes in China.
Grangaard credited much of the rebound of the brand to the financial backing provided by Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison.
“We were very privileged to have had the support of Goldner Hawn for the past seven years,” he said in the company announcement.
“Their foresight, confidence and support allowed the company to navigate the difficulties faced by all consumer businesses during the Great Recession. On behalf of all of our employees, I’m extremely grateful for all Goldner Hawn did to put Allen Edmonds on secure footing for this bright future.”
The sale announcement also quoted the new owners and their reasons for investing in Allen Edmonds.
“The Allen Edmonds brand represents extraordinary craftsmanship, and we will support the company in delivering the same high-quality products, service and value that Allen Edmonds customers have come to know and expect,” Brentwood Associates partner Roger Goddu said.
“We see fantastic potential for this company going forward.”
Founded in 1922, Allen Edmonds has gained a worldwide following for using an exacting 212-step production process in creating handcrafted footwear.
The company has 1,000 employees, including 450 working at its Ozaukee County facilities.
Brentwood Associates is a 30-year-old company that invests largely in consumer-focused companies. It has more than $850 million in capital under management.