Charlesbank Capital Partners today announced that it has acquired the assets of The Rockport Group (Rockport), the Newton-MA-based maker of casual and dress shoes for men and women. Founded in 1971, Rockport is a leading global designer, manufacturer, retailer and distributor of men’s and women’s footwear. It is known for combining the comfort of athletic shoes with the latest casual and dress styles. The sale of the company’s assets under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code was approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on July 18, 2018, with the company satisfying all closing conditions.
Affiliates of Charlesbank, in partnership with management, have acquired substantially all the assets of the company, including the North American wholesale and e-commerce operations, all of Rockport’s international operations and retail stores, and the Aravon and Dunham brands. Rockport has emerged with its balance sheet largely deleveraged and with significant capital available for acquisitions and future growth.
Concurrent with the acquisition, Gregg Ribatt has been appointed Rockport’s new CEO. Mr. Ribatt is a seasoned footwear executive with deep industry experience including leading companies like Crocs, Collective Brands Performance & Lifestyle Group (Sperry-Top Sider, Saucony, Keds and Stride Rite) and Stuart Weitzman.
Mr. Ribatt credits the dedication of Rockport’s employees for allowing the company to complete this critical restructuring in only two and a half months. “This is an exciting day for Rockport,” he said. “After significant hard work from the Rockport team, we emerge as a better company with a solid capital base, ready to capitalize on the potential for growth in both men’s and women’s footwear and to build on Rockport’s excellent brand awareness, diverse product line and strong legacy. I am fully confident that, together, we are on the path to a stronger future.”
“Gregg has terrific leadership experience in the industry, and we are delighted to be partnering with him and the Rockport team to continue strengthening this business,” said Josh Beer, a Charlesbank Managing Director.
“Rockport is a well-regarded brand, and we see many avenues for future growth,” added Josh Klevens, a fellow Managing Director at Charlesbank. “Now, with its more rational capital structure, the company is well-positioned both financially and competitively to take advantage of these market opportunities and achieve its true growth potential.”
Richards, Layton & Finger, PA served as legal counsel to Rockport. Alvarez & Marsal served as the company’s restructuring advisor and Houlihan Lokey, Inc. as investment banker and financial advisor. Charlesbank retained PJ Solomon as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP and Pepper Hamilton LLP as legal counsel.