4 September 2023

Major brand buys Wolverine Leathers (in part)

A prominent athletic footwear brand has emerged as the buyer of part of Wolverine Leathers, the in-house leather supply division of the Wolverine Worldwide group, writes Leatherbiz.

Wolverine ran its own tannery in Rockford, Michigan, for 100 years, but production there ended in 2009. After that, Wolverine Leathers remained an active part of the group, contracting leather production and leather colouring to suppliers in five locations in the US, Vietnam, Thailand and China.

However, as part of a wider cost-cutting programme, the group announced in December 2022 that it would let go of Wolverine Leathers. It said in January this year that “potential strategic buyers” for this part of the business had already come forward, but on reporting its half-yearly results on August 10, it confirmed that Wolverine Leathers was still “the subject of a sale process”.

Now, though, it has named a buyer for an important segment of this part of its business. Athletic footwear brand New Balance is buying the US part of the Wolverine Leathers business.

Wolverine said it had already “assigned its US tannery contracts” to New Balance and that the athletic footwear brand was paying $6 million for the acquisition. It said it would “continue to explore alternatives” for the non-US parts of the Wolverine Leathers business.

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