Daily News: May 9, 2012

Investor Seeks to Block Collective Brands Sale to Wolverine, Others

Investor Gregory Dusablon is trying to stop the proposed sale of Collective Brands, a footwear seller of such brands as Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds, to Wolverine World Wide, Blum Capital partners and Golden Gate Capital for approximately $2 billion, a BusinessWeek article reported.

Dusablon said in court papers filed in Delaware that the company’s directors accepted too low of a bid, and they should try to get a better price. The current price, he said, “deprives Collective Brands’ public shareholders of the ability to participate in the company’s long term prospects,” Dusablon said in court papers.

Wolverine World Wide is a retailer of the Sebago, Caterpillar and Hush Puppies brands.

According to a press release distributed on May 1, Collective Brands would be acquired by the consortium for $21.75 per share in cash, or $2 billion. Upon closing, Wolverine Worldwide will acquire Collective Brands’ Performance + Lifestyle Group (PLG), which includes the wholesale and retail operations of the Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds brands, and will continue to operate out of Lexington, MA. PLG had revenue of more than $1 billion in the fiscal year ended January 31, 2012.

Investment firms Blum Capital and Golden Gate will jointly acquire the operations of Payless ShoeSource (a part of Collective Brands) and Collective Licensing International (CLI), which together will operate as a standalone entity. Payless will continue to be headquartered in Topeka, KS and CLI in Englewood, CO. Payless and CLI had combined revenue of approximately $2.4 billion in the fiscal year ended January 31, 2012, operating over 4,300 Payless retail stores globally at year end.

Wolverine World Wide received financing commitments from JP Morgan Chase Bank and Wells Fargo Bank. Blum Capital and Golden Gate Capital received a commitment for a revolving credit facility from the Retail Finance Division of Wells Fargo Capital Finance, the press release said. The financing consists of a $200 million revolving line of credit, a $900 million senior secured term loan, a $375 million bridge facility and a $250 million portion secured by the company’s receivables.

Perella Weinberg Partners is the financial advisor to Collective Brands, and Sullivan & Cromwell is the company’s outside legal counsel. Wolverine’s Worldwide’s financial advisor is Robert W. Baird and Co.; Kirkland & Ellis is legal advisor to Blum Capital and Golden Gate Capital, and Barnes & Thornburg is legal advisor to Wolverine Worldwide.

To read the BusinessWeek article in its entirety, click here.