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Louis Vuitton continues its expansion: Birkenstock is now part of the family too

Already owner of over 70 high fashion brands, including Christian Dior, Cèline, Fendi, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton, VMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE had closed an important deal with Tiffany & Co. at the end of 2020, which ended with the acquisition of the American brand for a value of 16 billion dollars. Although the latter was by no means a simple negotiation, the group led by Bernard Arnault does not seem to have any intention of slowing down its expansion, on the contrary it continues to expand its immense portfolio. The latest addition concerns the German family-owned company, Birkenstock.

The Birkenstock brand, whose full name is to Birkenstock Orthopädie GmbH & Co. KG, was founded in 1774 as a manufacturer of orthopedic shoes for German customers, based in Neustadt. Its iconic shoes, sandals with cork insoles and thick straps, went from being the “ugly but comfortable” shoes worn by environmentalists to getting into celebrities and fashion influencers’ wardrobe, even making their appearance on high fashion catwalks, thanks to collaborations with important designers such as Paco Rabanne, Cèline and Valentino. Their success was such as to attract the interest of the LVMH group, the French luxury giant, which has recently acquired a majority stake in the German brand.

The announcement came from Birkenstock’s CEO, Oliver Reichert, which was then followed by an official statement, where the acquisition was described as a strategic operation “for achieving our global growth ambitions”. In particular, the Germans aim to “get excellent market access and contacts in Asia through the new co-owners and can push on with our growth at an accelerated pace”. 

Although the financial terms of the deal are nowhere to be found, the Financial Times reports that some analysts estimated a deal worth 4 billion euros, including debt. The acquisition was made through Financière Agache, a holding company of the Arnauld family, and L Catterton, a private equity firm owned by LVMH as well. According to Birkenstock’s CEO, “Both future partners share our growth strategy; for our products to be represented in all international markets and in all channels, while maintaining our long-standing traditions and the unique offer of quality and sustainability ‘made in Germany'”.

Bernard Arnault also commented on the acquisition by saying: “Birkenstock was founded nearly 250 years ago and has grown to become one the few iconic brands in the footwear industry. We truly appreciate brands with this long heritage”.

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