First reported earlier this month, Nike announced this morning the sale of its Cole Haan division to private equality firm Apax Partners for US$ 570 million dollars. In his statement to the press, Mark Parker, President & CEO of Nike, said "The decision to divest of Cole Haan allows us to sharpen our focus on opportunities with the highest potential for strong returns, and to make sure the brands within the NIKE, Inc. portfolio are the most complementary to the NIKE Brand." Alex Pellegrini, a Partner in Apax's Retail & Consumer Group, added "Cole Haan is an iconic brand with broad consumer appeal and we believe the brand has even greater opportunities in the future. We look forward to investing in the Company to achieve this growth."
Founded in 1928 by Trafton Cole and Eddie Haan of Chicago, Cole Haan was also Nike's first large acquisition when the sports lifestyle giant brought it back in 1988. However, in an effort to re-focus on its core products, Nike decided to put both UMBRO and Cole Haan up for sale. Just last month, fashion group Iconix Brand brought UMBRO for $225 million. The deal for Cole Haan was less straightforward though since multiple financial entities wanted the label. In the end, Apax Partners prevailed. The transaction will be finalize by early 2013, with Jack Boys, the former head of CONVERSE, as Cole Haan's new CEO.